Grand Union set to beef up PR budget for image revamp

NEW YORK: The Grand Union Company, which owns 221 supermarkets in the Northeast, will beef up its PR and investor relations budget by $200,000 as part of a $290 million plan to add more than 30 stores by 2003 and dispel its image as a high-priced chain.

NEW YORK: The Grand Union Company, which owns 221 supermarkets in the Northeast, will beef up its PR and investor relations budget by $200,000 as part of a $290 million plan to add more than 30 stores by 2003 and dispel its image as a high-priced chain.

Donald Vaillancourt, vice president of corporate affairs, told PRWeek that the Wayne, NJ-based supermarket chain, which emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in August, hopes to increase its visibility in the media through its in-house PR staff. Grand Union will also court the investor community more aggressively via meetings with security analysts. New York-based Kekst and Co. handles investor relations.

'The budget for our usual PR activity is $250,000,' Vaillancourt said.

'We'll be spending $200,000 more than usual.'

In addition to news releases and background briefings, Grand Union will roll out a VNR when its new stores open next spring.

'We will be unveiling new types of stores, restructuring departments to make them more customer-friendly and contemporary,' Vaillancourt said.

'Once we have the first store up and running we will use that as a showcase for the investor community.'

Vaillancourt said that the company is countering its image as an expensive supermarket with advertising and low-price promotions such as PowerDot, which took advantage of last summer's Powerball lottery craze, and the Grand Can sale, which offered low prices on canned products.

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