Smart & Final, one of the longest continuously-operating food retailers in the U.S., has announced that all 33 lease locations it acquired in December 2015 which were operated under the Haggen banner are now open as Smart & Final Extra! stores.
The transition and re-opening of the 33 stores was a considerable undertaking that has allowed Smart & Final to make significant strides in achieving its Project 100 Initiative goal of opening 100 new stores over the next four years. In opening the 33 stores, Smart & Final has increased its presence in the important Los Angeles and Orange County markets, and doubled store count in the California Central Coast and San Diego.
Each store opening created more than 50 new jobs, with Smart & Final hiring more than 1,900 associates to support the 33-store increase. Additionally, in line with its promise to give back to the communities in which it operates, for each new store opened, Smart & Final’s Charitable Foundation™ made donations to local nonprofits, resulting in over $140,000 in philanthropic donations. Furthermore, through its “First Street First Percent” campaign, Smart & Final will donate the first one percent of net profits from the sale of its private label brand First Street® in US-based Smart & Final banner stores to the Smart & Final Charitable Foundation, which supports local nonprofits such as Boys & Girls Clubs, food pantries and Little League organizations.
Smart & Final offers a one-stop shopping experience where businesses, clubs and organizations, as well as household shoppers, can fulfil their grocery needs while also stocking up on thousands of club-size products, all without a membership fee. All new stores feature Smart & Final’s Extra! format, which includes expanded frozen, deli and meat sections, a full produce section, organic and natural food products, high quality perishables and meats, a wide selection of private label offerings, and unique products such as self-serve bulk goods by the pound and oven-roasted chicken. The company is also testing new merchandising initiatives including hot bakery, sushi and cut fruit offerings in select stores.
“The positive growth and momentum Smart & Final has experienced is a true reflection of our consistent focus on value, quality and convenience which has not gone unnoticed by today’s savvy shopper,” said Chief Executive Officer Dave Hirz. “I’m excited that these 33 new stores provide an opportunity for Smart & Final to reach more customers with our unique offering, broad range of products and dedicated staff, and am confident that our brand promise will continue to give us a competitive edge in this market. I truly appreciate the dedication and effort of our associates to achieving this incredible milestone and want to welcome all of the new associates that have joined our team,” Hirz added.
Between January 20 and May 11, 2016, Smart & Final opened 11 Smart & Final Extra! stores in the San Diego area, seven in Los Angeles County, four in Orange County, three in Ventura County, four in the Central Coast, and two in the Inland Empire, all of which were formerly operated under the Haggen banner, and one additional non-Haggen location in Sacramento County.
Currently, Smart & Final operates 306 stores in California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Nevada and Idaho, including 251 Smart & Final banner stores, 160 of which are Smart & Final Extra! format stores. As part of Project 100, the company plans to open 100 new stores over a period of four years, in line with its 10 percent annual unit growth plan, and to hire at least 5,000 new employees to staff those stores over the next four years. Smart & Final is approximately one year into Project 100, and almost one-third of the way towards meeting its goal of 100 new stores. Several more stores are slated to open this year.