Pamida, Shopko to merge

Omaha-based retailer, Pamida, has announced that it is merging with Green Bay, Wisc.-based Shopko in hopes of creating one of the largest U.S. retailers focused on serving smaller and rural communities. Over the next year Pamida stores will be converted to the Shopko Hometown store format and will be rebranded as Shopko, officials said Wednesday. The resulting chain will have nearly 350 locations in 22 states. The combined company, which will be headquartered in Green Bay, will be led by Shopko President, Chairman and CEO W. Paul Jones. Pamida President and CEO John Harlow will serve on the leadership team and help direct the integration process. "This is an exciting move for Pamida," Harlow said in a press release. "The Shopko Hometown format will offer our customers an even better retail experience and a new and differentiated product offering that is not currently available in the smaller communities we serve." Shopko Hometown combines pharmacy services with an offering of national brands and private label brands of apparel, toys, consumer electronics, seasonal items and lawn and garden products. The stores range from 15,000 to 35,000 square feet. There will be no change to Shopko's stores, and approximately $80 million will be invested over the next 12 months in the conversion of most of Pamida's locations to the Shopko Hometown store concept and brand. Financial details of the merger, which is expected to close in mid-February, were not disclosed. With annual revenues of $2 billion, Green Bay, Wis.-based Shopko operates 149 stores in 13 states. Omaha, Neb.-based Pamida operates 193 stores in 17 states and has revenues of approximately $1 billion. Pamida, founded in 1963, has 18 stores in Nebraska and 30 in Iowa.