Kroger testing fresh concept Main & Vine

Kroger (NYSE:KR) is set to open a new fresh concept grocery format, Main & Vine, targeted to urban markets.

The location in Gig Harbor, Washington, near Seattle is expected to open early next year in a former QFC supermarket, also owned and operated by Kroger. The Cincinnati-based chain often tests concepts in new markets and has been hard at work coming up with new ways to challenge Whole Foods.

Kroger has been credited by Wall Street analysts with knocking Whole Foods off its perch as the top natural foods and specialty grocery by making organic and natural products more widely available and affordable to shoppers. The more traditional supermarket chain is even expected to become the No. 1 natural foods grocer in the United States by 2017.

Main & Vine will offer fresh and affordable local produce, meat, craft beer and wine, according to its website. There will be prepared foods made fresh and home delivery services could also be offered, according to Columbus Business First.

The retailer has trademarked Main & Vine, and its application describes the concept as a "retail grocery story and online grocery store services with in-store pickup or home delivery."  

Kroger has completed its $800 million acquisition of Roundy's, and has pointed to that company's Mariano's chain as a blueprint for future upscale urban offerings.

For more:
-See this Columbus Business First article
-See this story from Supermarket News (registration required)

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