Fred Meyer "Spokane Test" - eliminate dedicated electronics, reduce GM, expand liquor/food, require card for sale prices

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Re: Fred Meyer "Spokane Test" - eliminate dedicated electronics, reduce GM, expand liquor/food, require card for sale pr

Post by Super S »

As the holidays have ended, the "LOW LOW LOW" Kroger commercials (revised for Fred Meyer) have returned. It shows everybody dancing around while holding their phones. I cringe when I see this....all it does for me is send a message that you need to play games and have state of the art smartphones to save money.

Meanwhile, I have noticed that the self-checkout attendants at WinCo have become much more attentive and often has issues cleared up before I have to ask. I have also noticed some improvement in dairy (haven't gotten any bad milk in quite some time now) but produce often requires some digging to find good product.

I have also noticed that Walmart is a little better stocked than they have been in the past (and has a few items WinCo does not carry), but WinCo is far better on pricing. Walmart is now my #2 choice.

As for Fred Meyer...I have bought about 2 gallons of milk there since the card requirement went in to effect. That's all. They have gone from a reliable neighborhood store to one that is turning their back on many things that made the Fred Meyer format successful in the first place. I view them as more of an oversized convenience store now.
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Re: Fred Meyer "Spokane Test" - eliminate dedicated electronics, reduce GM, expand liquor/food, require card for sale pr

Post by storewanderer »

Fred Meyer has been going downhill for some time number of years. In visits to OR and ID the past couple of years I found better selection, better quality, better sale pricing, and a lot of equal everyday pricing at Albertsons and Safeway (could not believe it... absolutely could not believe it).

Kroger centralizing many more functions and taking more control from these divisions a few years ago was a bad move, but it caused more of a decline in some divisions than others. Would think Kroger would have learned from Safeway and Albertsons in the 00's, but, nope. And frankly Safeway's centralized programs of the early 00's, which still failed, for things like marketing and perimeter were far better than Kroger's centralized programs are. Not at all impressed with Kroger's centralized programs specifically for perimeter- absolutely terrible quality bakery, high priced with limited promotion, iffy deli with high prices and limited promotion... Kroger took stores like Fred Meyer, QFC, and Ralphs that previously had great delis, switched out the unique division-specific/higher quality items for their centralized stuff which is not at the same level of quality (even associating some of Kroger's deli stuff with the word "quality" is a stretch), and centralized their quality way down. Sure they brought in Boar's Head which is a quality item, but what good is it when the pasta salads are terrible, bakery doesn't even offer any decent bread/rolls to make a sandwich with, etc.
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Re: Fred Meyer "Spokane Test" - eliminate dedicated electronics, reduce GM, expand liquor/food, require card for sale pr

Post by babs »

storewanderer wrote: January 2nd, 2021, 10:39 am Fred Meyer has been going downhill for some time number of years. In visits to OR and ID the past couple of years I found better selection, better quality, better sale pricing, and a lot of equal everyday pricing at Albertsons and Safeway (could not believe it... absolutely could not believe it).

Kroger centralizing many more functions and taking more control from these divisions a few years ago was a bad move, but it caused more of a decline in some divisions than others. Would think Kroger would have learned from Safeway and Albertsons in the 00's, but, nope. And frankly Safeway's centralized programs of the early 00's, which still failed, for things like marketing and perimeter were far better than Kroger's centralized programs are. Not at all impressed with Kroger's centralized programs specifically for perimeter- absolutely terrible quality bakery, high priced with limited promotion, iffy deli with high prices and limited promotion... Kroger took stores like Fred Meyer, QFC, and Ralphs that previously had great delis, switched out the unique division-specific/higher quality items for their centralized stuff which is not at the same level of quality (even associating some of Kroger's deli stuff with the word "quality" is a stretch), and centralized their quality way down. Sure they brought in Boar's Head which is a quality item, but what good is it when the pasta salads are terrible, bakery doesn't even offer any decent bread/rolls to make a sandwich with, etc.
I don't know what Feed Meyer you were at that had a great deli. They've never done the service deli well. The bakery was great in the early days when things were made and baked on site. Now it's terrible.

I visited several Fred Meyer stores as I traveled around the NW over the holidays. Most have been remodeled into the new format. The electronics department disappears as they ha e been moving it into the center part of the store. They have downsized seasonal so much that there is little there to shop. At every store I went to the home part of the store was deserted. Interestingly they are leaving the apparel department alone, mostly because of the expense involved in downsizing it at locations where the deli/bakery wall separates it.

Now what FM is doing well are natural food products. They do have a large assortment at decent prices. About half the stores still have separate nutritional areas while the rest have them integrated with the rest of the store. I still like them separated but it has grown to such a large department that I can see why it makes sense to integrate them.
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Re: Fred Meyer "Spokane Test" - eliminate dedicated electronics, reduce GM, expand liquor/food, require card for sale pr

Post by storewanderer »

babs wrote: January 4th, 2021, 12:47 pm
I don't know what Feed Meyer you were at that had a great deli. They've never done the service deli well. The bakery was great in the early days when things were made and baked on site. Now it's terrible.

I visited several Fred Meyer stores as I traveled around the NW over the holidays. Most have been remodeled into the new format. The electronics department disappears as they ha e been moving it into the center part of the store. They have downsized seasonal so much that there is little there to shop. At every store I went to the home part of the store was deserted. Interestingly they are leaving the apparel department alone, mostly because of the expense involved in downsizing it at locations where the deli/bakery wall separates it.

Now what FM is doing well are natural food products. They do have a large assortment at decent prices. About half the stores still have separate nutritional areas while the rest have them integrated with the rest of the store. I still like them separated but it has grown to such a large department that I can see why it makes sense to integrate them.
It seemed like even 10 years ago, Fred Meyer's deli program was above the usual Kroger. It wasn't fantastic but it was better then the typical Kroger offering by far. And QFC was another level better. But even at Fred Meyer, they had some better salads, better sandwich/wrap program, better hot foods... Fred Meyer deli produced sandwiches using a good baguette loaf (Maple Leaf bakeoff baguette).

Same for bakery. Fred Meyer's program with cakes and other service case items in the stores that had a service case, which seemed to be most full size locations, was far more extensive than typical Kroger and much better quality. Their bread program was a mixture of good and not as good items. They had better quality on items like cinnamon rolls and muffins than the typical Kroger offering. Pricing was generally higher as well. Some stuff like bagels and basic french bread was the usual Kroger poor quality product all along.

It strikes me as very uneven to downsize home/hardlines so much, yet keep the full apparel department in place. I don't really understand what they are doing. Business is booming at Wal Mart and Target and I see people shopping throughout those stores (especially at Target). There is absolutely no reason beyond serious merchandising misses and lack of focus why Fred Meyer is not experiencing the same high level of activity in its general merchandise departments as Target and Wal Mart are. They could move some soft home items, into part of the apparel space, and it wouldn't look too "off." But usually the soft home items are quite a ways away in the store from the clothing areas and there probably isn't enough space for all of it. Fred Meyer was a unique format with a unique product mix and unique store layout- and it was designed that way for a reason. It is difficult to dumb down these very specialized layout stores, into what Kroger is trying to do to them with less general merchandise.

I agree with you the bright spot for Kroger in general seems to be grocery center store, including nutrition. Their general mix of items and private label mix in center store is still very strong, and really the only reason I do any shopping at Smiths at all anymore. I keep waiting for them to screw that up too- hopefully they won't. I too liked the separated nutrition departments but at this point they sell so much more by integrating it into the main store mix, it makes sense to integrate them. There are still 2 Smiths in my area with the separate nutrition aisle and it is to the point where some nutrition SKUs are on that aisle and others are just integrated into the other aisles. Nutrition on the books for scheduling and staffing purposes is no longer a separate department and is integrated in with grocery (maybe that is still different at Fred Meyer).
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Re: Fred Meyer "Spokane Test" - eliminate dedicated electronics, reduce GM, expand liquor/food, require card for sale pr

Post by bryceleinan »

storewanderer wrote: January 4th, 2021, 7:18 pm
babs wrote: January 4th, 2021, 12:47 pm
I don't know what Feed Meyer you were at that had a great deli. They've never done the service deli well. The bakery was great in the early days when things were made and baked on site. Now it's terrible.

I visited several Fred Meyer stores as I traveled around the NW over the holidays. Most have been remodeled into the new format. The electronics department disappears as they ha e been moving it into the center part of the store. They have downsized seasonal so much that there is little there to shop. At every store I went to the home part of the store was deserted. Interestingly they are leaving the apparel department alone, mostly because of the expense involved in downsizing it at locations where the deli/bakery wall separates it.

Now what FM is doing well are natural food products. They do have a large assortment at decent prices. About half the stores still have separate nutritional areas while the rest have them integrated with the rest of the store. I still like them separated but it has grown to such a large department that I can see why it makes sense to integrate them.
It seemed like even 10 years ago, Fred Meyer's deli program was above the usual Kroger. It wasn't fantastic but it was better then the typical Kroger offering by far. And QFC was another level better. But even at Fred Meyer, they had some better salads, better sandwich/wrap program, better hot foods... Fred Meyer deli produced sandwiches using a good baguette loaf (Maple Leaf bakeoff baguette).

Same for bakery. Fred Meyer's program with cakes and other service case items in the stores that had a service case, which seemed to be most full size locations, was far more extensive than typical Kroger and much better quality. Their bread program was a mixture of good and not as good items. They had better quality on items like cinnamon rolls and muffins than the typical Kroger offering. Pricing was generally higher as well. Some stuff like bagels and basic french bread was the usual Kroger poor quality product all along.

It strikes me as very uneven to downsize home/hardlines so much, yet keep the full apparel department in place. I don't really understand what they are doing. Business is booming at Wal Mart and Target and I see people shopping throughout those stores (especially at Target). There is absolutely no reason beyond serious merchandising misses and lack of focus why Fred Meyer is not experiencing the same high level of activity in its general merchandise departments as Target and Wal Mart are. They could move some soft home items, into part of the apparel space, and it wouldn't look too "off." But usually the soft home items are quite a ways away in the store from the clothing areas and there probably isn't enough space for all of it. Fred Meyer was a unique format with a unique product mix and unique store layout- and it was designed that way for a reason. It is difficult to dumb down these very specialized layout stores, into what Kroger is trying to do to them with less general merchandise.

I agree with you the bright spot for Kroger in general seems to be grocery center store, including nutrition. Their general mix of items and private label mix in center store is still very strong, and really the only reason I do any shopping at Smiths at all anymore. I keep waiting for them to screw that up too- hopefully they won't. I too liked the separated nutrition departments but at this point they sell so much more by integrating it into the main store mix, it makes sense to integrate them. There are still 2 Smiths in my area with the separate nutrition aisle and it is to the point where some nutrition SKUs are on that aisle and others are just integrated into the other aisles. Nutrition on the books for scheduling and staffing purposes is no longer a separate department and is integrated in with grocery (maybe that is still different at Fred Meyer).
Fred Meyer in Coos Bay closed their separate nutrition department, and it was an aisle, very similar to the Baring Blvd. Smith’s or the store in Carson City.
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Re: Fred Meyer "Spokane Test" - eliminate dedicated electronics, reduce GM, expand liquor/food, require card for sale pr

Post by Super S »

Well...it finally happened.

I was in Fred Meyer yesterday to purchase some frozen dinners I like which I can not find elsewhere.

I decided to go through a regular checkout. The person in front of me did not have their card. The cashier asked for the person's phone number. The person said they did not know their own phone number and started fumbling with their phone trying to pull it up. After about two minutes of this, I went to self-checkout and got out quickly. This is the big problem I have with these programs. Many people rely on caller ID and do not memorize any phone numbers including their own and are completely lost, and this holds up the line. And people are unwilling to carry cards expecting their phone to do it all including their credit and debit cards. This is the generation we are in.
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Re: Fred Meyer "Spokane Test" - eliminate dedicated electronics, reduce GM, expand liquor/food, require card for sale pr

Post by storewanderer »

Super S wrote: November 23rd, 2021, 9:04 am Well...it finally happened.

I was in Fred Meyer yesterday to purchase some frozen dinners I like which I can not find elsewhere.

I decided to go through a regular checkout. The person in front of me did not have their card. The cashier asked for the person's phone number. The person said they did not know their own phone number and started fumbling with their phone trying to pull it up. After about two minutes of this, I went to self-checkout and got out quickly. This is the big problem I have with these programs. Many people rely on caller ID and do not memorize any phone numbers including their own and are completely lost, and this holds up the line. And people are unwilling to carry cards expecting their phone to do it all including their credit and debit cards. This is the generation we are in.
At Smiths the cashier would have scanned the store card after about 30 seconds of that screwing around. However I notice lately many customers do not take a receipt at self checkout. I often do not notice this until I leave and see I have multiple receipts. About half of the other customer's receipts I find myself taking at Safeway or Smiths, the customer did not bother to even use the loyalty card on the self checkout and there is the "you could have saved" line. I have also observed many extended conversations in the new Safeway in Reno where customers are buying $30-$50 of merchandise and the cashier is trying to get them to sign up for a club card but the customer doesn't want it, just says "oh I haven't had time to sign up yet I will do it next time." I find it fascinating how people are willing to pay full price.

I signed up for a loyalty card with Shell Gas Stations and somewhere in the profile on the website it lets you link a credit card. I was using Shell quite a bit for a time as I found one that was within about .15 of the cheaper places but then the loyalty card .05 off brought it down close enough (stopped lately as they are .30 above the cheaper places now). So for that at Shell, if you link the card, all you do is insert the credit card in the Shell pump and it automatically pulls up the Shell Loyalty eventually, and releases the credit card and applies the discount.

Probably 15 years ago there was a similar thing with Staples- if you enrolled your credit card on their website when you paid in store you did not need to give you rewards card/phone number, it would automatically apply during the payment process.
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Re: Fred Meyer "Spokane Test" - eliminate dedicated electronics, reduce GM, expand liquor/food, require card for sale pr

Post by HCal »

storewanderer wrote: November 23rd, 2021, 5:03 pm I signed up for a loyalty card with Shell Gas Stations and somewhere in the profile on the website it lets you link a credit card. I was using Shell quite a bit for a time as I found one that was within about .15 of the cheaper places but then the loyalty card .05 off brought it down close enough (stopped lately as they are .30 above the cheaper places now). So for that at Shell, if you link the card, all you do is insert the credit card in the Shell pump and it automatically pulls up the Shell Loyalty eventually, and releases the credit card and applies the discount.

Probably 15 years ago there was a similar thing with Staples- if you enrolled your credit card on their website when you paid in store you did not need to give you rewards card/phone number, it would automatically apply during the payment process.
That would have worked in the era of magnetic stripe cards, where the store could easily identify you and pull up your loyalty card from your credit card information. But now, when many purchases are tokenized by EMV, this would require some sort of data-sharing arrangement between the store and bank, which would raise privacy concerns, etc.

Besides, I'm sure the store would like to keep the extra money from people who forget or don't bother with the loyalty card. :D
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Re: Fred Meyer "Spokane Test" - eliminate dedicated electronics, reduce GM, expand liquor/food, require card for sale pr

Post by storewanderer »

HCal wrote: November 23rd, 2021, 6:02 pm

That would have worked in the era of magnetic stripe cards, where the store could easily identify you and pull up your loyalty card from your credit card information. But now, when many purchases are tokenized by EMV, this would require some sort of data-sharing arrangement between the store and bank, which would raise privacy concerns, etc.

Besides, I'm sure the store would like to keep the extra money from people who forget or don't bother with the loyalty card. :D
The Shell I am going to has EMV and it is somehow retrieving the loyalty information via the EMV transaction at the pump.

I put the card in and it goes through a series of screens that require no input on my part. Basically after it blinks out "approved" it delays slightly at which point the price on the pump drops and a welcome loyalty comes up on the screen. Eventually it lets me remove the card but everything is done at that point.
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