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    Kroger Readies For New Concept Units at Home

    CINCINNATI -- The Kroger Co. here will launch its first new concept in its hometown here this summer, with two mass-merchandise Marketplace stores.

    CINCINNATI -- The Kroger Co. here will launch its first new concept in its hometown here this summer, with two mass merchandise Marketplace stores.

    The stores, which are planned for Liberty Township and Lebanon, Ohio, could include as many as eight more similar format locations through 2008, Kroger executives said in a report in the Cincinnati Enquirer.

    The first two Marketplace stores are replacement units for existing locations -- one on Cincinnati-Dayton Road in Liberty Township and the other in the former Kmart on Columbus Avenue in Lebanon. Due to open in August and September, the stores will usher in a new era in Kroger's home turf market, combining traditional groceries with nationally branded furniture, linens, and dinnerware.

    Kroger c.e.o. David Dillon said the 110,000-square-foot stores will be larger than the typical Kroger but smaller than a Fred Meyer, a sister chain of mass merchandisers on the West Coast.

    The towns where Marketplace operates had been limited to Phoenix and other cities in the West, according to the report, which said that Kroger expanded the format to Columbus in 2004, where it now runs two such stores.

    The new concept will take "one-stop shopping to a degree that we haven't seen east of the Mississippi in Krogerland," said Jerry Vogt, Kroger's newly appointed Marketplace district manager, and 26-year Kroger veteran. "We have the buying system and the distribution system now to bring this East."

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