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Eastern Canada supercenter assault now underway

BY CSA STAFF

Walmart has opened its first supercenter in Canada’s eastern Maritime provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. The retailer, which has operated in Canada for nearly two decades, plans to invest $90 million this year in the renovation and expansion of nine locations in New Brunswick and Novia Scotia.

"The addition of fresh groceries to our stores in the Maritimes is a major milestone for us as it extends our fresh food offering from the Pacific to the Atlantic," said Shelley Broader, president and CEO of Walmart Canada. "We are very excited to introduce our supercenter format to Atlantic Canada and help our east coast customers save money on their groceries every week."

As part of its effort to sell more food in eastern Canada, the retailer also introduced a new program called Brands You Recognize which features goods sourced from local suppliers.

"Our food team has been working with new local suppliers and our existing suppliers to ensure we are providing customers in the Maritimes with the quality products and assortment they expect," Broader said.

The stores are located in the New Brunswick communities of Fredericton, Dieppe, Saint-John and Moncton and the Nova Scotia communities of Dartmouth, Halifax and Bedford/Sackville.

Walmart Canada currently operates 380 locations of which 217 are supercenters.

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New study dings Walmart store experience AND price

BY CSA STAFF

Walmart knows it isn’t going to win any supermarket industry prizes for store experience, not when operators such as Whole Foods and Publix are involved, but not leading the pack on price is a different matter.

A study of 6,645 consumers in May conducted by Market Force was designed to uncover where consumers prefer to shop and rated companies on different satisfaction measures to produce a customer delight index. Those ranked highest overall in the upper right quadrant were familiar names that tend to top such rankings, including Traders Joe’s, Publix, Whole Foods, Wegmans and Aldi. Walmart ranked lowest on the delight index and appeared in the low left hand quadrant, which is somewhat ironic considering the company’s status as the nation’s largest food retailer. Those looking to understand this dichotomy could point to the fact that 60% of participants said their household incomes were above $50,000. Consequently, there may have been some anti-Walmart bias built in as there is a tendency among more affluent shoppers to look down their noses at the great unwashed masses who frequent Walmart and factor into their assessment of the store experience.

In addition, the study said it was designed to uncover where shoppers “prefer” to shop which could be materially different from where they “actually” do the majority of their shopping. However, such distinctions are splitting hairs and the bottom line is the results are disconcerting for a retailer intent of elevating perceptions of its food shopping experience and has featured produce and meat in recent national ad campaigns.

What’s also concerning from Walmart’s perspective is that the company did not lead the pack on price perception. That distinction fell to Aldi and then WinCo Foods, followed by Walmart, Costco and Sam’s Club.

Click here to read the study.

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Is Walmart really getting “slayed” by Publix?

BY CSA STAFF

No one would dispute that Lakeland, Fla.-based supermarket is a wonderful operator, but a piece in the August 12 issue of Forbes takes things a little too far and characterizes the regional operator of 1,073 stores as, “the Wal-Mart Slayer.”

The sensational headline sits atop a glowing article about “how Publix’s people-first culture is winning the grocer war.” The piece is so charitable it reads as if the company’s corporate affairs staff had commissioned it. There are quotes about competing with Walmart from Publix CEO Ed Crenshaw and president Todd Jones, but generally the focus is on what an awesome place Publix is.

Click here to read the article.

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