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    Giant Reveals Tech Details of New Super Food Format

    CARLISLE, Pa. -- Giant Food Stores, LLC's first-ever Giant Super Food Store, which opens in Camp Hill, Pa. Oct. 12, will have the latest in shopping technology, according to the Ahold USA-owned retailer.

    CARLISLE, Pa. -- Giant Food Stores, LLC's first-ever Giant Super Food Store, which opens in Camp Hill, Pa. Oct. 12, will have the latest in shopping technology, according to the Ahold USA-owned retailer.

    Among the state-of-the-art technologies featured at the 91,200-square-foot location -- the largest to date in the Giant/Martin's Food Markets chain -- will be EasyShop hand-held devices, EasyScan self-checkouts, EasyWeigh scales, and Shopping Solutions kiosks.

    "We have outfitted the new Giant Super Food Store with solutions that provide convenience to customers' current shopping routines," noted Nick Montepara, v.p. of retail operations and planning, in a statement. "Customers who might not be technically inclined will find the new offerings easy to use, making shopping faster, easier, and even more convenient than over before. The bottom line is this technology will enhance our quality customer service."

    EasyShop allows customers use a hand-held device to scan and bag items in their cart while they shop. It also provides them with a running total of their purchases before they proceed to checkout, where they pay and go. EasyScan permits customers to scan and bag their own groceries at any of nine self-service checkouts.

    EasyWeigh permits shoppers to weigh produce, bulk foods, and other random-weight items. After putting the item in a bag and placing it on the scale, the customer enters a PLU number on the touchscreen, which then prints the bar code label used for checkout.

    "Trained associates will be available to provide customers with a demonstration of this new and exciting technology, which we are confident will enhance our customers' shopping experience," said the new unit's store manager, Morgan Shreiber. "Informational brochures and video demonstrations will also be available to help our customers familiarize themselves with these technology innovations."

    To help shoppers locate the new features and products at the store, Giant has set up 17 Shopping Solutions kiosks throughout the location. Using the interactive touchscreen, customers can access personalized BonusCard savings offers, find out who's who on the store management team, and even get details on specific items for sales. "It's a one-stop informational center for all of customers' shopping needs," observed Montepara.

    The kiosks also offer an "Express Order" option, which lets customers place orders that will be ready for pickup on their way to the checkout. Shoppers can use different kiosks to order such items as deli prepared foods, custom cakes, and pharmacy prescription refills.

    Additionally, customers can find meal ideas at the kiosks, along with suggestions for side dishes. By choosing a meat, seafood, or produce item and scanning its bar code at the kiosk, shoppers have immediate access to many recipes specifically relating to the selected item. Customers can then print out their preferred recipes to take home with them.

    The technology even extends to the coffee bar: The WiFi Café features wireless Internet access, so customers can their e-mail or just surf the Net while enjoying a cup of fresh coffee and a snack in one of the couches and chairs before the fireplace.

    Giant Food Stores currently operates 101 stores as Giant Food Stores, 146 stores as Tops Markets, and 21 stores as Martin's Food Markets. With nearly 37,000 associates, Giant serves a six state market area.

    Denny Hopkins, Giant's v.p. of advertising and public relations, told Progressive Grocer last month that the company saw the new store as a test, and would be analyzing its performance. Hopkins additionally said this week that some of the technology for the new store had been designed in-house, such as a plasma touchscreen calendar allowing shoppers to schedule attendance at the store's cooking school or to use the location's community rooms. Giant worked with Symbol Technologies on EasyShop, with Bizerba on EasyWeigh, and with Fujitsu on EasyScan, he continued, noting that all of the applications contained some unique features. For the kiosks, Giant teamed with Agilysys, Inc.; IBM Corp.; and St. Clair Interactive Communications, Inc., among other companies.

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