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    Giant Eagle Says Reports of New Convenience Concept Premature

    Grocer says it is considering several options for Harmar Township location.

    PITTSBURGH -- Despite reports in local media and an industry trade Web site claiming that Giant Eagle was poised to debut a new smaller hybrid store format combining groceries, gas, and pharmacy in a Pittsburgh suburb, a spokesman for the chain here said yesterday no final plans have been made regarding such a launch.

    The speculative story, which appeared yesterday in the Pittsburgh Business Times, and was repeated by at least one convenience store industry Web site, claimed the chain had already approached Harmar Township with a proposal.

    Giant Eagle spokesman Rob Borella told a reporter for CSNews' sister magazine, Progressive Grocer, however, that the chain has "considered different options for the Harmar location, but no final decisions have been made."

    The story said Pittsburgh's market-leading supermarket chain was "mulling the launch of a smaller store prototype that eventually could allow it to fill in the underserved nooks and crannies of the region's grocery market. Working under the name GE xpress RX-R," the story continued, "an initial design would bring groceries, a drive-through pharmacy and gas pumps all within a scaled-down, 13,000-square-foot location."

    The local business journal said representatives of the chain had presented a plan to Harmar Township "to essentially replace an established Giant Eagle with the new store type ... [that] would offer both a drive-through pharmacy and eight gas pumps." It quoted a township engineer as saying "the plan would call for tearing down a former Ames department store, a bank and an established adjoining Giant Eagle supermarket," the latter of which would be replaced by a Target situated behind the new format store.

    The township official reportedly said Giant Eagle had made the proposal, but also emphasized that the retailer has not yet signed off on "going forward with the new store type on the property."

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