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    Spartan Takes on Hard Discounters in Michigan

    Homegrown smaller-format Valu Land offers alternative to Aldi, Save-A-Lot

    Michigan’s Spartan Stores is piloting a small-format store than aims to give competing hard discounters a run for their money, as suggested in its tagline: groceries for less every day.

    The opening of Spartan’s fourth Valu Land store in Lansing this week drew a steady stream of shoppers checking out grand opening deals that included house-brand milk gallons for $1.68 and ground beef for $2.33 a pound, according to a story on MLive.com.

    In addition to fresh produce and meat departments, Valu Land stores offer an aisle devoted to pet supplies and a dollar section that vies to best the competition for that price range. Offered prominently are products from Spartan’s own brand and its discounted Valu Time line.

    While this is Spartan’s fourth Valu Land location, it’s the first located in a dense, urban setting. At 25,000 square feet, it’s about half the size of Spartan’s traditional supermarkets. “We hope it is the right offer in the right location at the right time,” Spartan spokesperson Jeanne Norcross told Mlive.com. “We felt this would be a good opportunity to see the consumer response, learn from it and continue to redefine it.”

    Valu Land was launched a year ago when Spartan converted a former Felspauch Grocery store in Leslie, Mich., and two of its Glen’s Markets to the new format. Norcross said the smaller format stores aren’t intended to compete with the grocer’s wholesale customers who operate independent grocery stores but open in underserved areas.

    Spartan’s experiment with a smaller format store reflects a trend among retailers, including Walmart, Target and Meijer.

    Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Spartan Stores Inc. distributes more than 40,000 corporate and national brand products to 375 independent grocery stores in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio, and to 96 corporate owned stores located in Michigan, including Family Fare Supermarkets, Glen’s Markets, D&W Fresh Markets and VG’s Food and Pharmacy.
     

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