Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: Grocery shoppers making their lists, checking them twice

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PHILIPPINES-ECONOMY/CONSUMPTIONCheck out consumers’ discipline when shopping for groceries.

Most U.S. households have already made the majority of their purchasing decisions before they even enter a grocery store, and rarely buy on impulse, said market research firm NPD Group.

According to a new NPD report, 94 percent of households prepare a written shopping list before they go shopping, and 72 percent of shoppers never, or only occasionally, buy items not on the list.

“For food and beverage manufacturers and retailers, it’s all about getting on the list,” said Ann Hanson, executive director of product development for NPD and author of the report.

“With so many purchasing decisions being made at home where meals are being planned and shopping lists assembled, it’s important to focus on the consumer at home before they leave for the store.”

Heading to the dollar store for groceries?

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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.

Check Out Line: Moving to a different grocery shop

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Check out where the groceries are bought. supervalu
 
Family Dollar and Supervalu both reported quarterly results today and they seem to highlight the shift in where people are shopping.
 
Family Dollar saw an 8 percent increase in sales, driven in part by food. The company also raised its forecast for full-year earnings.
 
Meanwhile grocery store operator Supervalu had flat sales and cut its earnings forecast for the full year.
 
As the economy remains mired in a recession, people have been shopping places where they can save money. Wal-Mart has been the big winner, but Family Dollar says they are getting a share of that business, too.
 
“As more families face financial challenges in this environment, they are relying on Family Dollar for more of their everyday needs,” Chairman and CEO Howard Levine said in a statement.
 
So while Family Dollar is seeing sales grow in the here and now, Supervalu is cutting costs and says it is focusing on the long term in the face of “cautious consumer spending.”
 
Also in the basket:
 
Sam’s Club head to be Wal-Mart International CEO
 
Constellation Brands profit beats view
 
Wal-Mart, Netflix sued over online video rentals
 
The price of the new frugality (WWD, subscription required)

(Photo: Reuters)

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