Tesco launches surprise soft opening
HEMET, Calif. Tesco opened its first Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market in the U.S. ahead of schedule with a soft opening of its store in Hemet, Calif., a small town 75 miles southeast of Los Angeles. And a tour of the store on Nov. 5 showed Tesco has developed an innovative grocery store hybrid with European flair.
The first two aisles near the entrance reflect the Fresh & Easy name, with refrigerated cases stocked with prepared meals, fresh sandwiches and drinks. The aisles themselves are sawed-off versions of a typical supermarket with a fairly large selection of fresh produce in the first aisle and fresh meats, poultry and seafood in the second. A stand with free food samples was at the back of the first aisle.
While the Fresh & Easy format doesn’t feature a pharmacy, it does carry a fairly large selection of health and beauty and OTC products. The entire section takes up one long shelf toward the back of the store fronted by a small section with greeting cards and magazines. The section carries a standard mix of essentials like shampoo, skin care products and analgesics from major vendors.
The general merchandise section is fairly small, with products found in a typical convenience store including paper towers, diapers, light bulbs and pet food. And while Fresh & Easy puts a big emphasis on natural and organic foods, it carries very few natural products in HBC and general merchandise.
Several things set Fresh & Easy apart from other grocery retailers like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, the two it resembles the most. Topping the list is a high percentage of its Fresh & Easy private label in the product mix, which is probably close to 50%. The house brand is represented in nearly every major food category including produce, meat, prepared meals, juice, coffee and mixed nuts.
And that reliance on a private label allows it to offer some very competitive prices. A few examples include a 25-ounce beef lasagna dinner for $3.79, a wide array of fresh sandwiches priced under $4 and a half-gallon of milk for $1.98. And some of the pricing gives a nod to one of its top rivals with bananas priced at 18-cents each, one penny below the 19-cent bananas sold at Trader Joe’s.
The aisles feature European-style merchandising with products shelved in their original cardboard containers, a gimmick that gives the store a distinctive look and makes restocking shelves easier. High, open ceilings also make the store appear larger than its 10,000-square-foot base.
The signage is also unique and stamps Fresh & Easy as an organic and eco-friendly retailer, a good image for Southern California. Nearly every green, cardboard endcap features a message about its products including “all our bagged coffee is certified organic” and “our desserts contain 0% trans-fats.” And Fresh & Easy doesn’t sell cigarettes, though it does carry a large selection of wine along with liquor and beer.
The checkout system is completely automated with 100% self-checkout. Five checkout stands are small and designed for 15 items or less and the rest are standard conveyor belts with scanners and self-pay systems (though there were plenty of employees nearby to help out people unfamiliar with the concept).
As far as feedback, most of the talk overheard in the store was positive. It included observations from regular customers (pleased with low prices) along with vendors, retailers and reporters walking the store and taking notes.
Twinlab launches liver detox formulated for athletes
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. Twinlab on Friday announced the launch of Liver D-Tox Fuel, a daily liver detoxifying formula that combines L-glutathione and alpha lipoic acid along with an exclusive Purification Matrix formula.
Designed with athletes in mind, Liver D-Tox is made with natural ingredients and contains no harsh chemicals that interfere with the natural detoxification process.
“Most people would benefit from a detoxifying product, but athletes have additional needs,” stated Thane Slagowski, Twinlab director of research and development. “Not only do they introduce more free radicals into their system through intense exercise, but the additional stresses they put on their body also increase the toxins in their system, making their liver work even harder.”
L-Glutathione and alpha lipoic acid are antioxidants that help to dissolve toxic substances and maintain healthy enzyme levels, the company stated. The Purification Matrix formula contains: kudzu (root) powder and extract, milk thistle (seed) extract (standardized to 80 percent silymarin), artichoke (aerial part) and sarsaparilla (root).
FiveMoms.com receives Web creativity award
Launched in May as part of the association’s larger campaign to alert parents to the dangerous trend of teens abusing cough medicine to get high, FiveMoms.com is a place parents can go to learn how to spot the warning signs, as well as what to do if they suspect their child is abusing. The site provides parents with information about cough medicine abuse, features blog entries and offers links to additional resources.
The W3 Awards is a well-regarded online awards program. Sanctioned by the International Academy of Visual Arts, the awards honor creative excellence on the web and recognize the creativity of the professionals behind the winning sites, videos and marketing programs.