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WETHERSFIELD, Conn. -- PriceRite, which bills itself as an extreme-value supermarket with prices 50 percent lower than those of its competitors, is scheduled to open new stores in Pittsfield and Swansea, Mass. and Hamden, Conn., a prospect that could make many of its future rivals nervous.
"This is really going to rock the market and precipitate a price war - all the way to Northern Berkshire County," retail analyst Burt P. Flickinger III told the Berkshire Eagle in Massachusetts, regarding the Pittsfield store, which will open Feb. 23. "What the PriceRite will do is take away a significant amount of sales from the other four stores." The town is currently served by Big Y, Price Chopper, Stop & Shop, and local IGA grocer Harry's Supermarket.
PriceRite, which started in 1995 and is owned by Elizabeth, N.J.-based Wakefern Food Corp., keeps its prices low by offering a no-frills approach similar to Aldi's: smaller stores (35,000 square feet on average); a limited assortment of products (about 1,500); fewer employees (the Pittsfield store will employ 90 full- and part-time nonunion workers); basic shelving, decor, and signage; a lack of full-service departments such as delis, pharmacies and meat counters; and requiring shoppers either to bring their own bags or pay a nominal fee for them at the stores.
Flickinger noted that the company is additionally able to take advantage of Wakefern's considerable buying power.
Information on the retailer's Web site further notes that the store's low profile contributes to the rock-bottom prices: "We don't advertise regularly, there are no circulars or catchy television jingles, and we pass all those savings on to [the customer.]" Its stores rely on word of mouth to draw traffic. PriceRite also offers 500 items under its own value-priced brand. The company operates 20 stores in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island.
At presstime, PriceRite and Wakefern officials were unavailable for comment.