Consumer Spending at Supercenters Increasing


Mercedes Grandin, SeafoodSource contributing editor

Published on
February 4, 2009

As a result of the tough economic climate, many consumers are turning to supercenters like Target and Wal-Mart to stock up on groceries and supplies.

According to a recent Nielsen report, supercenters were the only retail channel out of the seven surveyed to report overall unit sales growth (1 percent) from 2007 to 2008. While drug stores, club stores and dollar stores reported sales gains from consumer purchasing across numerous departments (2.7 percent at drug stores, 3.3 percent at club stores and 1.7 percent at dollar stores), those gains were offset by an overall decline in unit sales. 

Based on Nielsen’s findings, pre-packaged meat, including seafood, was the category with the largest shift in increased spending at supercenters.

“Mass merchandisers and grocery stores are feeling the impact of the supercenter,” said Todd Hale, senior VP of Consumer & Shopper Insights at Nielsen. “Where we really start to see the expanding reach of the supercenter is in grocery, where a shift is occurring in everything from dairy and produce to meat and frozen foods.”

As consumers look for ways to stretch their dollar, larger supermarkets chains and supercenters are seeking ways to engage them. In Texas, H-E-B recently launched a store-wide “No Store Does More” marketing campaign, featuring print, radio and TV advertisements as well as in-store signage, to draw attention to the value of in-store coupons and featured in-store sale items. H-E-B also set up the H-E-B RX Rewards program where shoppers receive savings on prescription costs.

Nielsen noted that pharmacy and gas promotions in stores were the most successful in increasing sales. “Grocery stores have found gas promotion tie-ins to be very successful in capturing shopper trips, especially when high gas prices were putting a serious crimp on consumer spending for the first eight months of the year,” said Hale.

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