Pamida to become Shopko Hometown

by nathan oster

Greybull’s Pamida store will become a Shopko Hometown sometime later this year as a result of the merger of two general merchandise retail chains that was announced last week.

Andy Smith, who manages the Greybull Pamida, declined comment, as he and other employees were instructed to do by the company.

But Tara Powers, a spokesperson for Pamida and Shopko, said that with the exception of the new signage, the building’s exterior will not change.

The interior, however, will be converted to reflect the Shopko format, Powers said. “It will have a different look and feel,” she said.  “The great thing is, shoppers will get a greater variety of products after the store is converted.”

Over the past two years, Shopko has purchased seven stores from Pamida and successfully transitioned them to the Shopko Hometown format.  These locations have delivered an improved customer experience and have seen an increase in store traffic, sales and profitability, affirming the potential of the merger, according to a company release.

Powers said shoppers will immediately notice “more national brands” on the shelves of the  Shopko Hometown store. An example would be in footwear. “Now if you want to get your Nikes or Adidas, you would have to travel to a big box like a Target or a Walmart,” she said. “Once it’s a Shopko, those brands will be there.”

The combined Shopko-Pamida entity will have nearly 350 locations in 22 states and plans for new store growth in the second half of 2012 and beyond.

The merger is expected to close in mid February.

Shopko currently operates 149 stores in 13 states located throughout the Midwest, Mountain and Pacific Northwest regions, while Pamida, which is based in Omaha, Neb., operates 197 stores in 17 states, primarily in the Mountain, North Central and Midwest regions.

“Merging Shopko and Pamida is a great move for our businesses and our customers given our complementary strengths, store networks, and customer-centric retail models,” said Shopko President Paul Jones.  “The Shopko Hometown store format, featuring our unique merchandising strategy and improved store design, is an ideal fit for the smaller communities that Pamida serves with its exceptional service and customer-minded appaoch.

According to a press release announcing the merger, Shopko Hometown stores “combine pharmacy services with a broad and dynamic offering of strong national brands and high-value private label brands of apparel, toys, consumer electronics, seasonal items and lawn and garden products.”

Powers said the conversions of the existing Pamida stores, like the one in Greybull, to the new Shopko Hometown format would begin in early summer, most likely June or July.

It will take five to six weeks to convert a store, Powers said.

She said there would be liquidation sales prior to that in order to empty the shelves of Pamida merchandise and make way for the new Shopko Hometown merchandise.

The stores being converted will not need to close at any point during the transition, she said.