Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Heading to the dollar store for groceries?

June 29, 2009

dollar1Ahead of the recession, dollar stores thought it would be a good idea to try to lure shoppers into their stores more frequently by stocking an increased selection of food. Many of them began installing refrigerated coolers in their stores so they could sell things like eggs, milk and dairy.

More recently Family Dollar added 200 more food products — including a bigger selection of pasta and Kraft salad dressings — to its shelves.

As the economic downturn persists, that decision to focus on food appears to be paying off as more shoppers seek low prices on food.

With many consumers losing jobs or seeing their hours cut to part time, shoppers also have more time and greater incentive to compare prices and scour a variety of stores for deals.

The average household made 13 trips to a dollar store in 2008, up from an average of 11 in 2001, the Nielsen Co said. But the average household made 59 trips to supermarkets in 2008 — 13 fewer visits than in 2001.

Shopper Juan Bugueno told Reuters that he shops the Albertsons, Ralphs and Whole Foods grocery stores in his Venice, California, neighborhood — but prefers the dollar store for staples like vegetables and eggs.

“It’s cheap and it’s good,” he said as he purchased bagged spinach and garlic at a busy 99 Cents Only Store.

So, where are you shopping for your groceries these days? Are you venturing into dollar stores instead of heading to the supermarket?

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