Consumers turning to supercenters

by Staff
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CHICAGO — Consumers are increasingly turning to supercenters in an effort to save money on packaged goods and conserve gas, according to Information Resources, Inc.

In fact, I.R.I.’s latest report, "Times & Trends: Channel Migration 2008," shows that supercenters were the only type of store to have sales gains across six key grocery retail department areas during the last year. At the same time, traditional grocery retailers declined in four of the six departments. Grocery stores have lost ground in fresh/perishables, frozen and center-store items, including high-demand meal ingredient and meal component categories. The attraction of supercenters is the ability to make fewer trips to the store and purchase all necessary items at once.

For other store types, how to respond to the growth of supercenters is a challenge. Some will try to "out-super" the supercenters by expanding assortments and lowering prices, and other stores will provide a more premium experience to attract high-end shoppers.

"With the economy not expected to rebound until at least the second quarter of 2009, there is ample time for consumers to become comfortable with their new shopping patterns, suggesting that these changes and the competitive ramifications could have some staying power," said Thom Blischok, president of innovation and consulting.

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