INVENTORY

This is what grocery shoppers value the most

BY Marianne Wilson

Fresh produce comes out on top as the most important feature to customers in their grocery store experience.

That’s according to a new report by Acosta, a full-service sales and marketing agency in the CPG Industry, in which fresh produce (89%) ranked as a more important feature than competitive pricing (86%) and product selection (84%).

The report, The Revolution of Grocery Shopping, highlights five megatrends impacting grocery, including the important role fresh produce plays in shoppers perception of a store. Nearly one-third of shoppers report their perception of a store skews negatively if it does not have a dedicated section for natural or organic options.

In addition, almost half of shoppers consider leaving a store if fresh produce and healthy options are not available.

Another trend is convenient meal solutions, which are becoming a staple for shoppers who are managing increasingly busy lives and abandoning traditional meal rituals, according to the report. It found that half of shoppers decide what’s for dinner within two hours of mealtime. Millennials are doing the least amount of meal planning with 68% waiting until a few hours before dinner to make plans.

The other trends are centered around the following:

• Millennials. Seventy-two percent of millennials enjoy grocery shopping versus just 60% of total U.S. shoppers. Nearly half of Millennials — representing more than 10% of all U.S. shoppers — said they would use an app allowing them to pay for their groceries, signaling the increased integration of digital technology into the path to purchase.

• Digital Adoption: Nearly one-third of shoppers say they would use various forms of digital technology if it were offered at their grocery store. The most desired offering shoppers would like to see is an app that provides the ability to order items not available in store and the ability to scan items as they shop in order to bypass checkout.

Thirty-six percent of shoppers are interested in using an app or web portal to pre-order prepared foods they can pick up at the store. And more than 40% of shoppers report buying grocery purchases online at least once a month.

• Perimeter Growth: While center store accounts for 70% of a store’s profit, the perimeter area is expanding its share of space, driven by the increased interest in health-and-wellness as well as millennials’ influence. Sixty-two percent of shoppers frequent the produce aisle and 61% visit the dairy section at least once a week, versus only 19% shopping in the HBC aisles at least once a week.

“In isolation and especially when combined, these megatrends are driving the future of grocery shopping,” said Colin Stewart, senior VP. “It’s critical, however, that CPG retailers and manufacturers fully analyze these trends in the context of their own business and customers. With everything from advanced payment and loyalty technologies, in-store navigational apps and digital grocery tools, and even shelf-stocking robots.

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FINANCE

American Apparel saga continues with reports that it’s looking for buyer

BY CSA STAFF

It appears that American Apparel may be looking to start a new chapter.

The retailer, which emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection some six months ago, is now said to be looking for a buyer, Women’s Wear Daily reported.

Click here to read more.

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FINANCE

Department store retailer narrows loss

BY Marianne Wilson

The Bon-Ton Stores reduced its loss in the second quarter amid fewer markdowns and inventory controls, but sales fell as mall traffic remained soft.

The retailer posted a loss of $38.7 million in the quarter ended July 30, compared with a net loss of $39.6 million in the year-ago period.

Total sales fell 2.4% to $542.4 million, compared with $555.4 million last year. Same-store sales were down 2.0%.

“We made progress on a number of our strategic initiatives during the second quarter, although the soft mall traffic trends continued to negatively impact our business,” said Kathryn Bufano, president and CEO. “Importantly, we delivered sales gains in our key growth categories and brands, and drove accelerated double digit growth in our omnichannel business, with a triple digit increase on our mobile site. In addition, we maintained careful inventory controls, as we reduced inventory by 6% with fewer markdowns. We also continued to make progress on our cost savings plan.”

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