I spend a lot of time in grocery stores, since I work for one of the major companies that sell there. I'm partial to our local Kroger company, King Soopers, but interesting things are happening at Safeway. The company is changing the design to "Lifestyle" stores to make shopping an event, similar to shopping at Whole Foods or Wild Oats. I'm not sold on it. The fixtures are changing over to laminated plywood to appear more elegant, the lighting is more focused into spotlights, there are areas of "wood" flooring in produce and other places. You really have to make a dramatic adjustment when you walk into the store since it's darker than outside. The Safeway "White Shirts" are all over the stores, placing and replacing stacks of Vitamin Water and Firelogs.
King Soopers has gone the other direction, adding brighter lights to their stores. There is a real neighborhood feel to the ones here in Boulder, especially the one on Table Mesa Dr. Along with the genuine customer service at King Soopers, I appreciate that the management is a lot easier to deal with than Safeway management.