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 SALT LAKE CITY, Jan. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- Fred Meyer, Inc. (NYSE: FMY) announced this morning at an employee meeting in Salt Lake City the company's plans to invest more than $100 million in new stores and major remodels in Utah that will bring the company's full service food departments to the state and make selected stores consistent with the unique one-stop-shopping experience offered by Fred Meyer in the six other states where it operates.
 More than $60 million is earmarked for adding food departments and the overall remodeling of five of Fred Meyer's 12 Utah stores in 1994. An additional $40 million is planned for two new full-service stores once suitable sites are acquired. Schedules for the new store projects cannot be set until agreements are reached with property owners. Included in the investment estimates are land, construction, fixtures, equipment, fees and inventory.
 This expansion in Utah is part of Fred Meyer's five-year plan from 1993 through 1997 to open at least 25 new full-size stores and complete 35 major remodels in existing markets through 1997. The Utah additions will be financed through cash flow and existing credit lines.
 The five remodels are scheduled for the Taylorsville, Granger and Holladay stores in the Salt Lake City area and the company's stores in North Ogden and Logan. They are scheduled for completion by Thanksgiving 1994.
 "Our investment in the five remodels this year and our intent to build new stores in the future are proof of our confidence in our Utah markets," Robert G. Miller, chairman of the board and chief executive officer, told Fred Meyer employees at a meeting at the Red Lion Hotel in Salt Lake City, Thursday morning.
 The $60 million investment in the remodels will double employment at the five stores, increasing Fred Meyer's total employment in Utah from approximately 1,400 full- and part-time employees to an estimated 1,900 employees. Payroll and benefits on an annualized basis are expected to increase to about $25 million annually. The remodels are expected to generate an estimated $2 million in sales tax revenues related to construction, fixtures and equipment.
 The remodels include additions ranging from 22,000 to 46,000 square feet. The Granger store will increase to 155,000 square feet, the North Ogden store to 152,000 square feet, the Holladay store to 140,000 square feet, the Taylorsville store to 134,000 square feet, and the Logan store to 115,000 square feet. The five remodels will add a total of approximately 188,000 square feet to the company's current store base in Utah of more than 1 million square feet.
 "Our expansion plans for Utah are a continuation of our efforts to open food operations in those few remaining markets where we previously had only nonfood stores," Miller said. "In 1993, we completed new stores and major remodels that added food to our markets in Anchorage, Alaska and Spokane, Wash. Fred Meyer has reported some of the strongest food comp sales increases in the grocery industry over the past three years as a result of our first-class food operations that feature an everyday-low-price strategy and an expanded private-label program. We will continue to operate stores without food that are profitable. But our primary thrust for the future is to build full-size, one-stop-shopping stores with food."
 Miller said it was premature to discuss details of Fred Meyer projects being considered for Utah beyond the five 1994 remodels. "All I can say at this time is that we are negotiating with a developer to build a customized two-story Fred Meyer store with food downtown across 500 South from Trolley Square, and we are trying to buy a site in West Jordan on the corner of 9000 South and Redwood," he said.
 "We first entered Utah in 1984 with the purchase of the Grand Central stores. Today we are excited about bringing Fred Meyer's full one-stop-shopping experience to Utah. We started as a food company more than 70 years ago. We are committed to quality and value in our food business," Miller said.
 "Utah offers tremendous opportunity," Miller said. "It is one of the fastest growing states in the country and this rapid growth is projected to continue. Utah has lower housing costs and cost of living than many other states, and we know the people of Utah place a strong emphasis on family and community that matches well with Fred Meyer's philosophy," Miller said. "We are enthusiastic about our prospects for growth in Utah."
 Fred Meyer began as a food store in 1922 in Portland, Ore. The company now has 127 stores in seven western states -- Utah, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Alaska, Montana and California -- 97 of which are large multidepartment stores and the balance smaller specialty stores. Of its large stores, 76 feature the company's unique one-stop-shopping experience with full-service food departments. Most new stores now built by Fred Meyer range from 145,000 to 165,000 square feet and carry up to 225,000 food and nonfood products. The company employs 25,000 people and reported sales of $2.85 billion for 1992. Fred Meyer's common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol FMY.
 -0- 1/6/94
 /CONTACT: Rob Boley, 503-797-7176, or Cheryl Perrin, 503-797-5604, both of Fred Meyer/

CO: Fred Meyer Inc. ST: Oregon, Utah IN: REA SU:

IC-JH -- SE001 -- 9727 01/06/94 11:30 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 6, 1994

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