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FEDCO REDESIGNS FOR SUCCESS.

CERRITOS, Cal.-As grand reopenings go, Fedco's was one for the books.

Indeed, in his 30 years in retailing, Bob Stevenish said he has never witnessed a store opening as successful as Fedco's last month. And although Stevenish may be partial -- he is the president and CEO of Fedco -- the numbers reflect a spike in consumer traffic and sales at the membership club.

First-day sales at Fedco's new redesigned store here were 34 percent ahead of the year-ago figures, and the store's average sales gain during the reopening week climbed 25 percent. (Overall, Fedco's 10 stores are showing a 15 percent gain in sales during September and October from year-ago levels.)

The company cited a strengthened promotional calendar, new strategic vendor partnerships and a new membership card mailing to two million members as reasons for the pickup.

The Cerritos store is the first redesigned Fedco Inc. membership superstore to open in three decades. Nine other stores will have makeovers as well. The selling space in the redesigned store has increased 16 percent to 100,000 square feet. It also entails wider aisles, improved merchandise adjacencies, a consolidated area for optical, pharmacy and member services, a consolidated line of 24 high- speed checkouts, new lighting, new fixtures, an entirely new traffic pattern and colorful signage.

Cerritos is the prototype for a $25 million program to renovate all 10 of Fedco's Southern California locations during the next two years. Construction is scheduled to begin on a Los Angeles store in January, with three stores to follow in calendar 1999. Fedco operates 10 membership mass merchandise centers and three furniture and appliance centers in the Los Angeles and San Diego areas.

At the official reopening, crowds began forming at 5:30 a.m.; by the time the doors opened, 2,000 members were waiting. "Even on the weekend before the official reopening our crowds were huge," Stevenish said. "Fedco members are intensely loyal; that's because our stores aren't like any other stores."

Fedco, which carries a wide assortment of home furnishings, describes itself as a nonprofit mutual-benefit membership corporation. Its original mission statement forged 50 years ago was to provide a broad range of goods and services to members at low prices.

"It still is our our mission [today]," Stevenish said.
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Author:Ryan, Ken
Publication:HFN The Weekly Newspaper for the Home Furnishing Network
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 7, 1998
Words:378
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