Grocery store wars: who is winning?
February 16, 2011 (WPVI) -- "There are no longer supermarkets in this country that everybody likes a little, just supermarkets that somebody likes a lot," said John Stanton, professor of food marketing at Saint Joseph's University.And in the battle for your bucks, Stanton, said two victors are coming up champs.
"The 'foodie', 'experience' stores and the low price stores. Stores in the middle are getting squeezed."
Rock-bottom budget stores like Wal-Mart are winning over hardcore bargain shoppers like Charles Gregory of Ardmore.
"I think I spent about $150. This, at any other store, you are talking about $300 dollars."
Bottom Dollar Food bills itself as a "soft discount" grocer and it's hitting the market hard with 21 new locations in our area.
Meghann Barrios knows how to stretch a buck and said while the selection at Bottom Dollar is small, she saves big time on basics like produce and meat.
High-end stores are equally victorious in this food fight. Those stores offer "foodies" an epicurean experience and a cornucopia of culinary choices and organic options.
That's what brings Traci Lee of Wayne to Whole Foods.
"Almond butter and cashew butter, like different items like that, spreads, their hummuses are really good. I also get their pesto that they have freshly made."
The gourmand says she doesn't mind spending more money at Genuardi's for more specialty choices under one roof.
v "It is almost like one stop shopping. They have the fresh breads, they have the fresh cheeses, so you don't have to go from store to store to store," said Susan Altringer of Gulph Mills.
Traditional, run-of-the-mill supermarkets are losing ground and customers.
"Everyone is changing around them and they pretty much stayed on the straight and narrow and, you know, they kind of got caught," said Stanton.
That's the case for Acme, which recently announced its closing 5 stores in the Delaware Valley. Stanton said choices, prices, and long lines at the checkout counters are forcing them out of the competition.
"These companies, like Acme, are between a rock and a hard place they need to get more profit out of the stores they have and they are constrained by the size."
Stanton said the real winners are the shoppers.
"Suddenly people are giving us choices," he said. "Suddenly we can go where we want to go."
In the future, he said that could mean fewer middle-of-the road supermarkets like the ones we grew up with.
"I think we're going to see grocery stores doing a better job of making a store perfect for a certain group of consumers."
For instance, he says stores can do a better job of, say, catering specifically to seniors or stocking specialty items that appeal to various ethnic groups living in the community.
ACME strives to ensure the success of all its stores. As we continue to operate in a competitive and challenging economic environment we are constantly carefully evaluating, planning and making the decisions we believe are necessary to meet our ever-changing business needs to re-position the company for the future. While this process sometimes results in making difficult choices, we are guided by an underlying principle to do what is best for ACME's long-term growth and success as a whole. ACME remains committed to providing a great shopping experience by focusing our efforts on what our customers want, improving our fair pricing position and providing overall great customer satisfaction in our stores.
It's a very unique model. Many owners live and work in the community where the store is placed. Because they are independents they can quickly adapt and have a passion for the business. They have their hand and their pulse on it day in and day out. They deliver a personal service to their customers supporting local initiatives, not just writing a check, but really getting involved in community needs. Owners work in store alongside family members. We are looking to grow and open additional stores this year across the country.
BOTTOM DOLLAR FOOD
Bottom Dollar Food redefines the soft-discount grocer model by offering national brands and private-label products, in addition to fresh produce and quality meats, at discount prices. Consumers are placing a greater focus on price and value, and we work hard to meet their expectations. This market historically has been underserved by low-cost grocers, and therefore, we believe the Bottom Dollar Food banner has tremendous opportunity to serve the thrifty consumer searching for quality products at great value.
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