(Aug. 12) — Super Saver is about to join the ranks of the so-called “price-impact” grocery-store chains that include Aldi Inc. and Save-A-Lot.

Boise-based Albertson's Inc. is jumping into the category with a string of Super Saver stores run by a new subsidiary, Extreme Inc.

Extreme Inc., launched early in 2004, announced its first seven Super Saver locations Aug. 5 — five in Dallas and two in Baton Rouge, La. The company also said that more would be coming soon to other markets.

The company would not say, however, when or where any additional units would open.

“All I can say is that it will be an aggressive rollout strategy,” said Mike Clawson, former president of Albertson's northwest division who now is president of Extreme Inc.

COMING IN SEPTEMBER

The first stores are scheduled to open in late September, will have their own design and offer merchandising formats that vary from those at Albertsons stores, Clawson said.

Clawson backed away from comparison to other price-impact chains, particularly in the areas of fresh produce.

“I can say this is not as limited selection as a Save-A-Lot or an Aldi model, which is extremely limited,” Clawson said. “Our customers are going to be able to come to our Super Savers and get everything they need to get. We will have a more limited (stock-keeping unit) selection than a typical conventional store, but that will mean we’ll not be as deep in selection in a particular category but it won’t be like there will only be one.”

Produce will be a particular focus of each Super Saver store, Clawson said.

“Produce and meat, as far as fresh, are extremely important parts of our operation,” he said. “We think that the quality and the price that we bring to the produce department will be part of the appeal of the Super Saver.”

He declined to comment on how many items a typical Super Saver produce department would carry.

The new chain will make use of Albertsons produce-supply network, although it won’t necessarily limit itself to those supply lines, Clawson said.

Stores will feature more than simple staple items in their produce departments, and each department will have its own produce-oriented staff, Clawson said.

AROUND 50,000 SQUARE FEET

The first stores will be comparable in size — about 50,000 square feet — to typical Albertsons’ stores, Clawson said.

“I can’t say exactly what the store of the future looks like at this time, but the 50,000-square-foot range is certainly what is working for us right now,” he said.

Clawson declined to comment on why the company chose Dallas and Baton Rouge for its first stores. But, he did say that the decision was not related to Albertson’s’ decision last April to close all five of its stores in New Orleans.

Albertson's is the No. 3-ranked U.S. retail grocery chain, with about 2,300 stores in 31 states.