Save Mart introduces new Lucky California concept.

E4M9CK Lucky grocery store, California, USA. Image shot 2014. Exact date unknown.

Save Mart Supermarkets said Wednesday it has unveiled a new concept — called Lucky California — at one of it Lucky-banner stores, designed to serve the specific needs of customers in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The company plans to test and tweak the concept at the initial location — in Daly City, Calif., about 10 miles south of San Francisco — before rolling it out to other Lucky units, with the intention of converting all 72 Bay Area Luckys to new Lucky California banner, Nicole Pesco, co-president and chief strategy and branding officer, told SN.

She said the company also plans to introduce a separate new merchandising concept at the 99 Save Mart-banner stores it operates in California’s Central Valley — a concept that will be unveiled sometime in 2016 at a ground-up location, Pesco noted.

She said the Lucky California concept is “an opportunity within the traditional grocery world to raise expectations a little bit, so we’re testing ideas at the Daly City store to see what works before rolling it out chainwide.”

However, she told SN she was reluctant to discuss too many details about the concept “until we see what works.”

She said the store “definitely has a different look and feel [than a conventional supermarket]. It still has all the traditional offerings, but on top of that, we’ve added more items above and beyond what you see in a traditional store.

“There are the usual departments around the perimeter — produce, meat, deli and bakery — and then stores-within-a-store in each section based on what consumers might experience in a restaurant or other supermarkets that are not traditionally found in a grocery setting.

“For example, we might have Thai chicken curry in the hot foods section of the service deli, plus the ingredients for customers to make it at home and recipes to make the item more accessible.

“Featured items and recipes will be available on a rotating basis, but there are no hard and fast rules on how often items will rotate in and out. The goal is to create a discovery every time the customer comes in.”

Lucky California stores will also feature local products — not just from area farms, but also from Bay Area producers, manufacturers, chefs and purveyors “[to] truly deliver the flavors of California,” Pesco said.

Lucky California also features a new logo —a kaleidoscopic design that a spokeswoman said shows the top view of an artichoke, “which not only represents California agriculture but also is a good illustration of cultures coming tougher,” she told SN.

Pesco said customers will determine the timing of the rollout of the Lucky California banner. “What we intend to do is test, learn, tweak and do more testing, and then begin introducing those elements that work at other Lucky locations. It’s all about having a stronger food philosophy in line with the way consumers in the Bay Area eat.”

The Daly City Lucky is a 61,000-square-foot store that was selected for the new approach, Pesco said, “because its diverse demographics made it feel like the right store to test this concept. It fit the mold of what we want to do, and because it’s such a large store, it offers the space to test a lot of different things.”

In a press release the company said the store’s offerings “will reflect the diverse cultures, delicious cuisine and locally grown foods that have been inspired in this region. The store’s new display concept will feature constantly changing snack and meal hubs where shoppers will be encouraged to try new flavors.”

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