Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Big gains seen in online grocery shopping

According to a Supermarket News story published yesterday, industry experts say that both consumers and retailers are becoming more comfortable with online grocery ordering. As a result, online grocery sales could be poised for significant gains in 2017.

Brick Meets Click CEO Bill Bishop cited his company's research indicating that active online grocery users nearly doubled from 11% of households in 2013, to 21% of households in 2015. Furthermore, he expects that usage may have doubled again since then.

According to Bishop, growth factors include the increasing availability of the offerings, new features available to consumers from more online providers, lower prices fueled by increased competition, and a customer base that's learning how to more efficiently use the services offered.

Robin Michel, a veteran of the grocery industry, said that retailers are "plowing ahead" in pursuit of online grocery despite their reservations about its profitability. On the other hand, independent and midsized operators have been slow to enter the fray, as they worry about the costs involved, the return on investment, and the impact it may have on their store operations.

Lidl secures sites in Cumberland County, NJ

The Philadelphia Business Journal reported yesterday that Lidl has secured three Cumberland County, NJ locations - Millville, Upper Deerfield and Vineland. It is presumed that the stores will open in 2018, when anywhere from 75 - 125 new Lidl stores are slated to open between New Jersey and Georgia.

The company, which plans to operate stores that are 36,000 square feet, intends to challenge Aldi and other grocery retailers in the United States. It is already Aldi's biggest rival in Europe. Lidl has reportedly secured stores all throughout the Greater Philadelphia region.

Acme to be repaced by residences in Society Hill, Philadelphia

The Acme store in Philadelphia's Society Hill will close once its lease expires in two years and be replaced by a residential building, according to a report in today's Philadelphia Inquirer. The report says that Alterra Property Group received a conditional zoning permit last week that allows for the demolition of the current building as well as the construction of a five-story structure with 43 underground parking spaces.

Neighborhood residents and the Society Hill Civic Association oppose the project, which needs to be reviewed by the Philadelphia Historical Commission since it's located within a historical district.

Acme acquired the store after A&P's bankruptcy in 2015. It had been operating for several years as a Super Fresh.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Acme may replace Fresh Grocer at UPenn

Philly.com reported earlier this week that the Fresh Grocer on the University of Pennsylvania's campus in Philadelphia may be replaced by Acme. Acme confirmed that they have been in talks with UPenn about the location.

According to the Philly.com story, Fresh Grocer, which has been open and operating since 2001, "failed to exercise its renewal right in a timely manner."

Fresh Grocer had recently received approval to sell wine at the store, and has been selling beer for over a year.

Fred's to buy 865 stores from Walgreen's and Rite Aid

Walgreen's and Rite Aid announced earlier this week that they have agreed to sell 865 stores to Fred's for $950 million in order to alleviate any antitrust concerns related to their pending merger. Kroger had been rumored as the leading candidate to purchase the stores.

Currently Fred's has 581 stores, most of which are in the Southeast. Although the locations of the 856 stores won't be revealed until the Federal Trade Commission approves the merger between Walgreen's and Rite Aid, the two companies said the stores to be sold would be located in the South, as well as the East and West coasts. If the deal goes through, Fred's would become the third largest drugstore chain in the U.S.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Kimberton Whole Foods to open in Collegeville

Kimberton Whole Foods, the independent natural grocer with five suburban Pennsylvania locations, announced last week that it would open next Fall in a portion of the former Acme space in Brixmor's Collegeville Shopping Center. At 12,800 square feet, the store will be the chain's largest to date.

Kimberton Whole Foods provides customers with natural, organic and non-GMO groceries, prepared foods and supplements. According to Company President Terry Brett, the new store will include "an extensive bulk foods department, expanded food service offerings, and ample indoor and outdoor seating."

Monday, December 12, 2016

Pet care ranked as top category in supermarket sales

As a kid I had a dog, and up until recently I had a cat. Now, as a member of a household without a pet, I'm in the minority, as nearly two-thirds of the households in our country include a pet.

That fact explains why consumers spent $60.28 billion on pets last year, with sales projected to climb to $63 billion in 2016. Industry experts call pet care spending "recession resistant." 

It should be no surprise, then, that pet care is the top ranked category in sales among the 256 categories sold in U.S. supermarkets, drug stores and mass market retailers. And dry dog food ranks as the number two trip driver to supermarkets, behind pharmacy and ahead of milk. (Bananas must be number three, as every shopping cart seems to have them!)

"If you're not winning in pet, you're losing," said Paul Cooke of Nestle Purina PetCare Company. "We know that the loss of a grocery pet shopper leads to an overall 12 percent loss in grocery store trips. So, prioritizing the pet category in-store and catering to these shoppers has never been more important to the health of total store sales."

According to Supermarket News, retailers must establish the right product mix, retail display and value equation, and also connect with the pet shopper on an emotional level. Appealing to pet owner's hearts could hold the key to increasing total store sales.