Limited-Assortment Grocery’s Competitive Edge

Apr 24, 2003
George Anderson

By George Anderson

The April 2003 Competitive Edge from Willard Bishop Consulting says limited-assortment stores such as Aldi and Save-A-Lot should be on the radar of every food store competitor if they are not there already.

Aldi sells primarily private/custom brands with signage and prices made easy to read. Stores are set up like a warehouse with dark floors and pallets serving as shelves. Fixtures stand approximately five feet high to enable shoppers to see the entire store as they walk the aisles.

According to the Competitive Edge piece, “Every single (Aldi) private brand product has a quality guarantee on the label, offering a full refund if the consumer is not completely satisfied—a guarantee that most major branded products do not offer!  All of the products we sampled lived up to the image, too—they were very good.”

Supervalu’s Save-A-Lot format is more like that of a conventional supermarket “with bulk produce and perishable offerings and many category-leading brand name products.”

Save-A-Lot also focuses most of its efforts on private label but gives the majority of endcap and checkout space to national brands. This helps to drive the shopper’s perception that there is a broad selection of major brands to buy in addition to the private label items. 

Moderator’s Comment: What chains do you think will
make the biggest impact in limited-assortment grocery in the years ahead?

The Competitive Edge article says, “another large, international
limited-assortment grocery store operator could be entering the United States
in 2003.” Of course, there’s also Neighborhood Markets to consider.
Anderson – Moderator

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