California-based Grocery Outlet Bargain Market plans to expand its NOSH line of natural, organic, specialty and healthy foods, as consumer demand for such products increases and recent reports put the market for natural and organic items around $100 billion. The 10-store discount grocery chain is looking to appeal to consumers seeking healthier foods without the higher prices found at upscale retailers such as Sprouts Farmers Market and Whole Foods Market, a Grocery Outlet spokesperson said.
San Diego's Zion Market has moved into a larger home. The Korean grocery has taken over an old Sears Essentials store, with 97,000 square feet, three times larger than the old location. The store has an expanded produce area, restaurants, cosmetics boutiques and cellphone stores. "What we're trying to do is create a mini shopping mall," Manager Timothy Moon said, adding that not all stores are Korean, to provide variety. Zion has five locations across Southern California, with a sixth scheduled to open next week.
Representatives of the striking grocery workers and negotiators for Albertsons, Safeway and Kroger will reinstate talks today in hopes of finding a resolution to the 4-month-old strike. Formal talks between the groups last occurred in mid-December.
A Los Angeles economist estimates the Southern California grocery store strike is costing the region $6.3 million a day, as suppliers are cutting back on orders and strikers at mall-based groceries are also driving down business at the malls' other stores. Meanwhile, despite deep discounts on groceries, analysts say business at the grocery chains affected by the strike is down 30%, while rivals such as Keil's and Trader Joe's are experiencing record business.
San Diego County officials are calling for increased inspections of price scanners at retail stores to curb overcharging consumers, which could cost customers up to $100 million a year. Groups representing grocery and convenience stores say the proposed measure is drastic.