Wawa More Convenient For Grocery Shopping

Jul 02, 2004
George Anderson

By George Anderson

Most stories about supermarkets losing share to a competitor involve a big box such as a Wal-Mart Supercenter or Costco.

The story in the Philadelphia, Pa. area is different, however, because the competitor that is taking share away from grocers there isn’t a big box operator at all.

It’s Wawa, the convenience store chain.

According to a report in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Wawa is now the third largest seller of groceries in the area behind longtime market leader, Acme and ShopRite stores.
Wawa’s move up has it changing places with the Genuardi’s division of Safeway.

Richard George, a professor of food marketing at St. Joseph’s University, said Wawa answers a basic consumer need. “We’re time-starved in America,” he said. “People are looking
for that food retailer that can solve their time-starvation problem.”

One consumer, Sheila Kerns, supports the professor’s view. “I come here more because of the convenience. It’s in and out. It’s clean. I use it for the things I run out of more
quickly, like bread, milk, cheese, yogurt. I don’t have to go as often to the grocery store.”

Moderator’s Comment: Is the small box experience in the Philly area also happening in other parts of the country?
What is the reason behind Wawa’s success?

Anyone who’s ever been to a Wawa knows the stores are generally clean and well lit. Wawa’s food service operation is very strong and consumers looking to
get in and out to buy staple items such as milk and eggs know they will be reasonably priced.

George Anderson – Moderator

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