Grocery Loses Consumer Shopping Trips to Supercenters

May 06, 2002

Consumers still shop in traditional grocery stores, but the annual number of trips households make to such stores is continuing to decline, according to the latest “channel blurring” study from ACNielsen U.S., an operating unit of ACNielsen, a VNU company.

Meanwhile, supercenters and dollar stores show gains both in the percentage of households who shop in those channels, and in the number of trips consumers take to them each year, according to the study. The findings, based on an analysis of ACNielsen Homescan® consumer panel data, were released on the eve of FMI’s annual convention.

Among supercenters, Wal-Mart has been especially successful at converting grocery-store
customers to Wal-Mart customers. Mr. Hale says it is important to note that
the degree to which Wal-Mart is gaining at the expense of the grocery channel
is actually somewhat less than would be expected. “When you exclude the supercenter
channel, grocery stores generated 40 percent of all-outlet revenue in 2001.
Therefore, of the channel-shift revenue growth experienced by supercenters,
we would expect 40 percent to come from the grocery channel. The fact that it
was 32 percent means grocers are having at least some measure of success defending
their turf.”

Moderator Comment: How can grocery stores demonstrate
they are unique to other formats and drive a greater share of consumer trips
to supermarkets?

According to Todd Hale, senior vice president, consumer
insights, ACNielsen U.S. the key to competing with supercenters is, “Grocery
retailers have to create a unique reason for shoppers to choose them.” Makes
sense, but just what is it that a grocery store can offer that its supercenter
and warehouse club competitors can’t or won’t? [George
Anderson – Moderator

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