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    Meijer Opens First of 5 New Units for '06

    GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Meijer here is celebrating the grand opening of its newest store this morning in Normal, Ill., as the first of five new sites the chain will open in 2006.

    GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Meijer here is celebrating the grand opening of its newest store this morning in Normal, Ill., as the first of five new sites the chain will open in 2006.

    "It's always exciting to open a new store," said Fred Meijer, chairman emeritus. "We have been fine tuning our stores for over 70 years to meet the needs of our customer. We feel that we have a store that focuses on our customers and their busy lifestyles."

    Having hired over 450 people from the community, John Beardon, Meijer store director, said, "The supercenter format has become the format of choice for shoppers. With our willingness to change and meet the demands of our customers, we feel we have a product that can compete in today's fierce marketplace."

    "Four more Meijer stores are scheduled to open this spring and summer,"
    said Judith Clark, Meijer's director of community relations and communications. "Not only do we make an impact in a community with one-stop-shopping, we continue to make an impact on the economy by bringing to a community quality jobs."

    Meijer said that over the past several years, it has been evaluating every aspect of its operations with a focus on enhancing the customers' shopping experience, while continually looking for ways to control costs. By controlling costs, Meijer can continue to keep its prices low, and remain competitive.

    Meijer's new stores are 207,000-square-feet, which is roughly three football fields worth of store. Each store is designed with smaller backrooms, which allows Meijer to move product quickly from the shipping area to the shelves -- which allows for a more effective and efficient flow and assists in controlling costs.

    With the focus on enhancing the shopping experience, customers will notice the stores' new adjacencies, among which feature: kitchen supplies and small appliances located near the grocery aisle; a baby section complete with food, diapers, strollers and clothing; and a pharmacy that has moved to the front of the store with health and beauty care.

    Other design features include: jewelry, greeting cards, and floral moved up front to provide the convenience of one-stop gift buying; widened grocery aisles and lowered shelving units to provide more light and create a welcoming atmosphere; pet supplies across the aisle from grocery; and the fashion area, which will use point of purchase displays to create a department store atmosphere.

    Meijer operates 171 stores throughout Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan and Ohio.

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