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    Kroger Plans Upgrades in Houston Area

    New Marketplace store also in the works
     

    The Kroger Co. has several projects on tap in Texas, including a new Marketplace store, five major remodels and six minor remodels in the Houston area.

    "We’re continuing to invest in Houston, with a new Marketplace store and upgrades of existing stores,” Gary Huddleston, Kroger’s southwest division consumer affairs director, told the Houston Chronicle. The new market in Willis will be Kroger’s third Marketplace store – a neighborhood-targeted superstore that includes home decor and home furnishings, jewelry, bed and bath products and toys, along with groceries – in the Houston area.

    The major remodels will target three locations in Houston, one in Magnolia and one in Katy. Meanwhile, the Cincinnati-based grocer will close a market in southwest Houston and another in the city’s Pasadena area. Closure is expected by the end of the month.

    “We do look at under-performing assets, and it’s been quite a while since we’ve had to close stores,” Huddleston told the Chronicle. “The good news is we’ve got stores very close to both of those locations.” The two stores lost a combined $4.6 million since 2007, Kroger reported. The 155 employees at the two closing stores will be given opportunities to transfer to other locations.

    These closures and the new Marketplace opening will bring Kroger’s presence in the Houston area to 100 stores.

    The major remodels will include new decor, including new color schemes and signs, and stained concrete floors in place of tile. Also planned are new frozen food and perishable cases, and the stores will offer a broader assortment of products and more prepared foods and perishables.

    Huddleston told the Chronicle that Kroger is performing well in Houston, which he described as one of the most competitive U.S. grocery markets.
     

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