- Hy-Vee will soon sell Joe Fresh apparel and accessories for men, women and children through special in-store shops at seven Midwestern stores, according to a news release.
- Locations that will offer the store-within-a-store concepts are in Des Moines, Iowa; Kansas City, Missouri; Lincoln, Nebraska; Minneapolis; Omaha, Nebraska; Rochester, Minnesota and Grand Island, Nebraska.
- With this move, Joe Fresh, the popular Canadian brand originally developed for Loblaw, has become the preferred clothing line for Hy-Vee. In 2017, Hy-Vee brought British label F&F into several markets.
Hy-Vee has been dabbling in clothes sales for more than 20 years, and this latest announcement indicates it sees an opportunity for a chain-wide expansion around the right brand and the right assortment.
In 1998, Hy-Vee tested the model when it opened an upscale men's clothing boutique in West Des Moines. More recently, the F&F boutiques opened within select grocery stores in 2017, complete with dressing rooms and their own checkout area. F&F merchandise targeted millennials with a focus on fast fashion at moderate prices.
Joe Fresh will be similar in style and price point. The main difference is that the brand and its creator have a history of working with grocery stores. Joe Fresh debuted at Loblaws store in 2006 and became a hit, expanding into categories ranging from kids' clothes to sleepwear and athletic apparel. The line is now sold at more than 300 locations.
Kroger, meanwhile, teamed up with Joe Fresh designer Joe Mimran to launch private label clothing line Dip last year at Marketplace and Fred Meyer stores.
For a long time now, grocers have been adding services that help create a one-stop shopping environment, from in-store restaurants to specialized boutiques. The goal in offering clothing at the grocery store is to build out shoppers' baskets and become more of a lifestyle destination. The popularity of cheap-chic fashion at Target and H&M have paved the way for Hy-Vee, but it could still be an uphill battle for the company to convince shoppers to buy clothing where they buy their cereal and produce.