Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Show must go on for Organics…

This year’s All Things Organic conference and expo showcased necessity as the mother of invention.  Slumping sales and a weak economy have forced the industry to innovate just to hold onto customers.

In a 2009 briefing on the organic packaged food market, Euromonitor International said the largest threat to the future growth of organic products is price sensitivity among U.S. consumers in the current economic climate.

“In previous years, many consumers were willing to trade up to premium products,” the briefing said. “However, more consumers are looking to trade down, as they can no longer afford to even try some premium products, much less purchase them on a regular basis.”

The response has been for some companies to expand their product offerings, such as Clorox’s Green Works laundry detergent, hitting store shelves this summer, and Rain Organic Vodka’s new lavender flavor.

Clorox’s recipe for the recession – stay home


When people hunker down, apparently they eat more salad. 
salad-shoppingIt’s either that or they’re using Hidden Valley Ranch dressing on veggies or some other snack.  Despite it’s higher price – it sells at about a 40-50 percent premium to its rivals - the bottles are selling well in the downturn, Clorox CEO Don Knauss said on Thursday.  Yes, the company that brightens your whites also sells white dressing. 

Incidentally, we chatted with Knauss while he dined on a salad served with, you guessed it, Hidden Valley Ranch.
While some shoppers are laser-focused on saving, overall Americans still want what they want when they want it and they’re willing to pay.  The recession may have changed some mindsets, though.

Nothing sells like a little potty humor


In the news you may have missed category, a couple of household products makers are trying to grab your attention with a dose of elementary-school styled laughs.

USA/First, Clorox is bringing some giggles to a blazing issue in its backyard.  Nearly 30 portable toilets have been set on fire in San Francisco according to Clorox, which is based in nearby Oakland, California.

Check out Line: Store growth plans squashed


sbux.jpgCheck out fewer places to sip that latte or buy that power saw.

Late on Wednesday, Starbucks said it would slash U.S. coffee store openings through 2011 as it adjusts to slower U.S. growth.

The coffee giant blamed the domestic housing crisis for a significant quarter-over-quarter deterioration in U.S. customer traffic and said it saw early signs of a potential traffic slowdown in the United Kingdom, which may be related to economic problems there.