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DocLightning
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Mainstream Supermarkets In The US

Mon Dec 08, 2014 12:35 am

Up until the last 10-20 years, most non-prepared food purchased in the US by individual consumers was purchased in mainstream supermarket groceries. Today there are a few major supermarket chains (with a number of subsidiary brands that have been kept for whatever reason), Safeway, Albertson's, and Kroger.

But recently, a number of other stores have been getting into the market offering full-service supermarkets with the extensive array of products usually found at most supermarkets. Including things like baking soda, yeast, and food coloring, and other products that once were only the purview of supermarkets. There are companies like Trader Joe's and Whole Foods who offer niche market supermarkets (you can't buy artificial food coloring or diet soda (other than Zevia) at Whole Foods, but you can get organic persimmons, so there's a trade-off). Other big-box retailers like Wal-Mart and Target have also been getting into the Supermarket act, though, and they do carry the full array of products you would expect to find at a large Kroger.

How do you think the Supermarket retailers are going to have to act to survive? Do you think their business model is obsolete? How could they differentiate themselves from mass-retailers like Walmart and Target?
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Scruffer
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RE: Mainstream Supermarkets In The US

Mon Dec 08, 2014 1:02 am

Lets not forget the emergence of the warehouse stores as well. Sams Club/Costco.

One trend I have noticed is that Kroger is becoming larger and more diversified. (same with Target / Walmart) At both of the Krogers I frequent they have expanded at least once in the last 5 years. One of them is about to start its second expansion and will be almost double the size it was 5 years ago (from 65,000 sq feet, to 83,000 sq feet (finished in 2011), and finally to 113,000 sq feet).
 
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LAXintl
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RE: Mainstream Supermarkets In The US

Mon Dec 08, 2014 1:17 am

Quoting DocLightning (Thread starter):
How do you think the Supermarket retailers are going to have to act to survive?

Both Kroger and Safeway are generating good earnings. I'm not sure there is a problem, or certainly no danger of not surviving. Both companies are reporting same store sales up and decent ROIC margins.

Like airlines, retail sector is seeing mergers and Safeway agreed to acquire Albertsons earlier this year. Kroger has about 800 stores and Safeway about 1300.
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Okie
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RE: Mainstream Supermarkets In The US

Mon Dec 08, 2014 1:35 am

Quoting DocLightning (Thread starter):
How do you think the Supermarket retailers are going to have to act to survive?

Not many left here in OKC.
Wal-Mart has pretty much caused most all the independents to close up business.
Safeway has folded up in this area, IGA's (independent grocers assn.), Albertsons along with most of the rest gone.
There are a couple of independents that have a few large stores but Wal-Mart's price structure has just killed the competition.

Sort of like 3 mega airlines. The food stores will continue to acquire one another or fail and just a couple will be left to compete.

Whole Foods is nice but a 50mi round trip for me is generally out of the question. Which brings me to the point that I was at an seasonal party the other night which people were suppose to bring a dessert.
There were two packages of exactly the same bakery item one from Wal-Mart the other from Whole Foods, exactly same packaging and ingredient label. Just the brand sticker was different.


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AAlaxfan
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RE: Mainstream Supermarkets In The US

Mon Dec 08, 2014 3:03 am

Having worked in the retail food industry for 37 years, I can tell you the problems facing the "traditional" grocery stores vs. the Walmarts, Targets, Sams, Costcos and others is this:

1. Labor costs. The Safeways, Krogers, and other traditional supermarkets will generally pay their employees higher wages, usually by negotiated contracts,plus health and retirement benefits. Except for Costco, who pays higher wages and benefits, most of the other retailers do not.

2. Non foods. The markup on the non food items sold in the Walmarts, Targets, and others allow them to lower the prices of the food offerings. Traditional grocers don't have that availability.

Some people say that eliminating the unions and lowering labors costs will allow the traditional stores to remain competitive with the others. I disagree, as long as Walmart can sell a $7.99 shirt that cost them 99 cents, they will always have a competitive edge. I believe that the consolidation we are seeing with the traditional grocers will allow them to have greater buying power with suppliers, bringing lower merchandise costs, and should allow them to remain competitive. Labor costs can be controlled by more efficient staffing. The better buying power, by consolidating, can help offset the non food issue.
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sccutler
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RE: Mainstream Supermarkets In The US

Mon Dec 08, 2014 4:05 am

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 2):
Like airlines, retail sector is seeing mergers and Safeway agreed to acquire Albertsons earlier this year.

Other way around - the owners of Albertson's are acquiring Safeway and its owned brands.

--

It is incomprehensible to me that Safeway has managed to survive as a brand - everywhere they go, they fail, and yet always seem to bounce back to suck again. As a child, Dallas had all kinds of Safeways, and every time a location of (then upstart) Tom Thumb opened up, the nearest Safeway or two would close. Same thing was happening in Houston, with the Randall's chain being the successful interlopers. They defeated Safeway by simply being better, cleaner, better product mix, better service.

The Houston division was sold to an investment group, which renamed them, "AppleTree," which lingered for a year or two before failing completely.

In Dallas, Safeway closed all of the stores one day in (IIRC) 1986 - may have been 1987.

In SoCal, Safeway sold all the stores to Von's.

Fast-forward to 1999, when Safeway (apparently reinvigorated with the funds of foolish investors) bought the Tom Thumb and Randall's brands, and immediately launched the process of closing stores and ceding market share. Stores which had been successful and popular were suddenly no longer valuable, and Safeway began to introduce their less-service, poorer-quality mark on the Texas market once again. This all works great for Texas-based grocer HEB, which seems able to grow mightily while Safeway's footprint shrinks (in Houston, Randall's is nearly gone; while in the Dallas area, Tom Thumb is merely shrinking). They insist upon proffering their Safeway-branded products - the name has no value here.

They can combine as they see fit; but no one is going to out-Walmart Walmart (which means, they can never compete on price), and the steady erosion of quality and service Safeway has imposed means competition with the upscale grocers (Whole Foods, HEB's Central Market, and others) is never going to work. In our market, I give 'em five more years (the Albertson's brand already took its hit about ten years ago, and it remains a mere shadow of what it was here). At some point, HEB will enter our market with its main line stores (they're on the fringes already), and do with service and quality what Safeway and Albertson's could never (in recent times) figure out.

---

Edit: The acquiring group is Cerberus Capital, which already owned the Albertson's brand. They are not in it for the long haul, instead looking to do a dress-up and flip - and if that will not work, then bail. Ask the folks at Chrysler about Cerberus...

[Edited 2014-12-07 20:08:02]
...three miles from BRONS, clear for the ILS one five approach...
 
ltbewr
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RE: Mainstream Supermarkets In The US

Mon Dec 08, 2014 5:13 am

You don't have national or super-regional supermarket chains except for Walmart and maybe Kroger (which trades under different names from co's they bought out). Most 'chains' tend to serve a few states.
Here in the Northern NJ area A&P (which also owns Pathmark and owned by a German company) is generally seen as # 1. Shop Rite, based in New Jersey, is a strong #2 is unique in that the 'chain' is actually about 200 stores with 1 to 50 of all but a few of the 200 owned by family groups They in turn own a cooperative supplier and support company (Wakefaren). They usually have the cheapest prices and best in service. Stop and Shop, mainly a Northeastern company (owned by a Dutch company) is # 3, returning the Northern NJ market from buying out what was left of Grand Union and a few other companies. There are also independent stores or mini-chains, stores like C-Town and Foodtown, which have a buying and support company and mainly serve urban areas. Aldi, and discount/limited selection stores are also operated by other owners. Walmart is gaining, but is a far from being the top 3 in this market.
 
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RE: Mainstream Supermarkets In The US

Mon Dec 08, 2014 5:39 pm

Quoting sccutler (Reply 5):
It is incomprehensible to me that Safeway has managed to survive as a brand - everywhere they go, they fail, and yet always seem to bounce back to suck again. As a child, Dallas had all kinds of Safeways, and every time a location of (then upstart) Tom Thumb opened up, the nearest Safeway or two would close. Same thing was happening in Houston, with the Randall's chain being the successful interlopers. They defeated Safeway by simply being better, cleaner, better product mix, better service.

The Houston division was sold to an investment group, which renamed them, "AppleTree," which lingered for a year or two before failing completely.

In Dallas, Safeway closed all of the stores one day in (IIRC) 1986 - may have been 1987.

In SoCal, Safeway sold all the stores to Von's.

So what you're really saying is that Safeway has failed in your limited world of two large cities in Texas, plus Southern California, as newer stores opened. That's a limited sample and not really anything particular to Safeway. In my experience, Safeway has just as often been the successful interloper as the loser.
 
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RE: Mainstream Supermarkets In The US

Mon Dec 08, 2014 5:54 pm

Quoting sccutler (Reply 5):
the owners of Albertson's are acquiring Safeway and its owned brands.

I'm particularly perturbed by this development. I've long preferred many Safeway Select brand items over the national brand of the same product. Rumors here locally are that the much larger Safeway store down the street will be closing with the smaller Albertson's a few blocks away (with a parking lot half the size) remaining.
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sccutler
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RE: Mainstream Supermarkets In The US

Mon Dec 08, 2014 6:47 pm

Quoting IADCA (Reply 7):
So what you're really saying is that Safeway has failed in your limited world of two large cities in Texas, plus Southern California, as newer stores opened.

Not really.

In Texas, it was two entire divisions of the company (as they were geographically divided - Houston Division, which included Austin and all of south Texas), and Dallas Division, which included pretty much everything in the northern part of the state. Safeway had a long (and generally favorable) history in the state, going back to the 20s, so their failure here was persistent and profound, and generated in large measure by terrible management (and with apologies, my knowledge is something better than superficial here).

Then, of course, they acquired a very successful operation (really, two, Randall's and Tom Thumb, but they had by then been combined in a separate transaction a couple of years prior to Safeway's return under common ownership, but retaining their branding) to get back into the market, and immediately and dramatically began to close stores and lose share, when the operations they had acquired had been growing and succeeding well.

The first time, the failure was blamed on the all-union workforce; the second time around, no such excuse available.

One can draw similar inferences in Southern California, but in that case, I am looking at it purely from outside observation.

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 8):
I'm particularly perturbed by this development. I've long preferred many Safeway Select brand items over the national brand of the same product. Rumors here locally are that the much larger Safeway store down the street will be closing with the smaller Albertson's a few blocks away (with a parking lot half the size) remaining.

Nothing would much surprise me, look for pure financial performance targets, whatever works best for that.

I hope for the best, but pure roll-ups like this are fraught with peril. My expectation is that the new owners will consolidate the operations (for example, Albertson's has no distribution here in North Texas, Tom Thumb has a very good distribution center, so that helps), close a bunch of stores, package up to re-sell. Here, I see them selling the consolidated operations to the HEB people within three years.
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RE: Mainstream Supermarkets In The US

Mon Dec 08, 2014 6:49 pm

Quoting DocLightning (Thread starter):
Do you think their business model is obsolete? How could they differentiate themselves from mass-retailers like Walmart and Target?

In terms of the number of products and services I think they have to change, do their best to become more of a one stop shop. Specialized stores will always be with us but their management has to downplay growth as their primary strategy.
One difficulty facing local community stores is space, whole sale entities can use volume - number of local store in a set region / area - to offer them competitive prices but space to accommodate all the additional products required to keep folks in the neighborhood is usually limited.
 
IADCA
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RE: Mainstream Supermarkets In The US

Mon Dec 08, 2014 6:54 pm

Quoting sccutler (Reply 9):
In Texas, it was two entire divisions of the company (as they were geographically divided - Houston Division, which included Austin and all of south Texas), and Dallas Division, which included pretty much everything in the northern part of the state. Safeway had a long (and generally favorable) history in the state, going back to the 20s, so their failure here was persistent and profound, and generated in large measure by terrible management (and with apologies, my knowledge is something better than superficial here).

Sounds like a pretty serious issue in regional management, especially if the rest of the company was doing decently at the same time. Thanks for the detail on that; it was interesting.
 
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RE: Mainstream Supermarkets In The US

Mon Dec 08, 2014 8:24 pm

Traditionally in ABQ Albertson's and Smith's (Kroger) have been the grocery players in town. Since I have lived here the majority of the Walmarts have been Supercenters as well. But recently -- as in the past 2-3 years have been building multiple neighborhood markets. On my side of town I think ~4 have been opened or are under construction (these have all been on existing properties which seems very un-Walmartlike. I suspect part of the issue on my end of town is that with a few exceptions was pretty much built out by 1990 and that neither Albertson's nor Smith's has invested a heck of a lot in updating their stores. I suspect that may be part of the problem, or at least a symptom. I figure with Walmart being fairly aggressive in this market, plus other stores siphoning off customers in part of whole (Sprout's, Whole Foods, TJ's, Sam's and Costco) the mainstream stores will struggle unless they can get some better direction.
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RE: Mainstream Supermarkets In The US

Mon Dec 08, 2014 8:57 pm

Quoting sccutler (Reply 9):
Here, I see them selling the consolidated operations to the HEB people within three years

My understanding, from someone who works in lower management at HEB, is that the reason HEB hasn't expanded into the Metroplex is due to anti-trust concerns in the state. If that's true, it might explain why they're on the fringes of the Metroplex, but haven't fully expanded into it.

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Okie
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RE: Mainstream Supermarkets In The US

Mon Dec 08, 2014 9:08 pm

Quoting IADCA (Reply 7):

So what you're really saying is that Safeway has failed in your limited world of two large cities in Texas, plus Southern California, as newer stores opened.

Same scenario as scculter indicated in reply 9 played out here in OKC and TUL so you can add those to your list as well for Safeway, just substitute those divisions for DFW, HOU and SoCal.

Quoting sccutler (Reply 9):
The first time, the failure was blamed on the all-union workforce; the second time around, no such excuse available

Same plan here same result.

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RE: Mainstream Supermarkets In The US

Mon Dec 08, 2014 9:21 pm

Quoting Scruffer (Reply 1):
Lets not forget the emergence of the warehouse stores as well. Sams Club/Costco.

There once was a few more in the market. Remember Pace and Buyer's Club? Back when my dad was a Key Accounts Manager for Eveready Battery those two bought lots of batteries, in the 1980s.

Quoting okie (Reply 3):
Wal-Mart has pretty much caused most all the independents to close up business.

Around where I live that has not happened. The independent store near me has a Wal-Mart, Kroger, Aldi and a Super K-mart all within four miles. The smaller store is jammed most of the time. They had a water main break last winter. A lot of people feared they would close, but after repairs they came back bigger and better than ever. They carry the Spartan brand, which is common for Michigan independents.

Quoting okie (Reply 3):
Whole Foods is nice but a 50mi round trip for me is generally out of the question.

I like Whole Foods ,but found that I got fatter after shopping there. Sure they have a lot of organic stuff (which I can get at Kroger) but they have lots of fancy stuff that isn't good for you either. Their deli counter was filled with great stuff that is terrible for you, as is the bakery area. I have very little self control when it comes to deserts. There is an independent place near me, that is similar to Whole Foods; I had to stop shopping in there too, because I spend too much money on stuff that was bad for me.

Quoting ltbewr (Reply 6):
Most 'chains' tend to serve a few states.

St. Louis has Dierberg's, Shop N' Save and Schunck's, for their big three, there is no Kroger (but there is in other parts of Missouri). My mother is a Dierberg's shopper. I always liked Dierberg's stores compared to the other too.

The Detroit area has Kroger, Meijer, Walmart, Super K-Mart, Aldi, a few Whole Foods, Trader Joes and a bunch of independents. I never shop at Trader Joes, too much frozen meat and not much local stuff. I usually shop at the Independent, which is closest to my house, but will sometimes shop at Walmart, if I need something else. K-Mart is by far the worst of the group. They have a decent selection, but have a very low level of store brands, if any at all. I think K-Mart is the priciest of the group.
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RE: Mainstream Supermarkets In The US

Mon Dec 08, 2014 9:22 pm

Quoting par13del (Reply 10):
In terms of the number of products and services I think they have to change, do their best to become more of a one stop shop.

But Walmart and Target already have gone down the one-stop-shop route. They have everything from hardware to haircuts in addition to a full-service supermarket. So if Safeway pursues that model, they would just be an also-ran and wouldn't have anything to differentiate them from their competitors.

Perhaps there is a different product or service that Safeway could offer that would differentiate them from Target and Walmart?
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LittleFokker
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RE: Mainstream Supermarkets In The US

Mon Dec 08, 2014 11:12 pm

I used to shop at Walmart, then I decided some years ago that I was done giving money to the Walton family, so I initially switched to Target. After moving to the Houston area, I was fully hooked on HEB (great store, I miss it dearly). Since moving up to the Chicago area, I've been on a mix of Jewel-Osco (part of the Albertson's family, and is most convenient to my house), Trader Joe's (about 15-20 mins away), and Mariano's (nearest one about 20 mins away, though I just found out one might be opening up near my house in the next year or two). I do have a Costco membership to supplement our needs. If Trader Joe's was more convenient to where I lived, I'd probably use them more often, as I enjoy their brand offerings, price range, size and ease of use of store, and overall quality.

Quoting sccutler (Reply 5):
It is incomprehensible to me that Safeway has managed to survive as a brand - everywhere they go, they fail, and yet always seem to bounce back to suck again.

While growing up in Las Vegas, Vons (Safeway) was the most convenient to our house, my mom preferred to shop there, and they seemed to have a nice niche in the Vegas market. However, in Chicago, Safeway bought the Dominick's brand (very popular in the area at the time) about 15 years ago, and this past winter they decided to shut down all Dominick's locations and vacate the Chicagoland market. Although my wife was fond of their salads and fresh foods I didn't get the impression that Dominick's would be sorely missed by the locals.

Excellent analysis, BTW.
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N1120A
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RE: Mainstream Supermarkets In The US

Mon Dec 15, 2014 4:41 am

Quoting sccutler (Reply 5):
It is incomprehensible to me that Safeway has managed to survive as a brand - everywhere they go, they fail, and yet always seem to bounce back to suck again.

Failed? They have certainly done well in California.

Quoting sccutler (Reply 5):
In SoCal, Safeway sold all the stores to Von's.

Incorrect. Vons, which is how it has been branded for decades, has been fully owned by Safeway since 1997 and partly owned by Safeway since 1988 (which was part of that store swap you mentioned).
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sccutler
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RE: Mainstream Supermarkets In The US

Tue Dec 16, 2014 2:59 am

Quoting N1120A (Reply 18):
Incorrect. Vons, which is how it has been branded for decades, has been fully owned by Safeway since 1997 and partly owned by Safeway since 1988 (which was part of that store swap you mentioned).

Nope - check again.

The entire SoCal Safeway division (including some Nevada locations) was sold to Von's in 1988. It was a transaction with an option to purchase reserved to Safeway (because of the involvement of investment banking firm KKR).

Edit: http://articles.latimes.com/1988-08-.../business/fi-1334_1_safeway-stores

[Edited 2014-12-15 18:59:42]
...three miles from BRONS, clear for the ILS one five approach...
 
Mike89406
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RE: Mainstream Supermarkets In The US

Tue Dec 16, 2014 3:13 am

VONS/Safeway was my favorite when Ioved to SoCal but I've really taken to Ralph's. More variety and some better quality products.
 
BubbleFrog
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RE: Mainstream Supermarkets In The US

Tue Dec 16, 2014 3:24 am

OK, I'll start with a question on an obviously uninformed economist: You have ALDI in the US???

I'll add to that an irrelevant anecdote. I love Safeway, as my (not-so-officially-obtained) Safeway-whatever card still works every time I'm in the good old US of A.

What I think is that with ever better means to analyse the customer, any supermarket will have to cater to its local audience. More affluent suburbs -- put on the organic. Superstore at an Interstate slipway -- have all the basics and a bit extra. Out-of-town-once-a-week-haul -- have the space to cater to every need.

I do think that to some extent the future lies in loyalty cards. Figure out what your customers want in a particular region and cater to that. No use selling okra in places that want convenience food, or vice versa. Tesco in the UK used to be really good at these things, I suppose they still are.

Cater to local demands, and you're good. Alternatively, have a bit of everything in less densely populated places, and you should do fine, too.

These days, this is possible.

And I shall close with a question: In Seattle, a few years ago, only one place was open on Christmas Day. University Village, no less. What was that? The bakery stuff was foul (to continental European tastes, at least), but it was very organic/ ethnic/ do-goody. What was that? We grabbed food and went to the Hanford Site to have it all contaminated. Good times.
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Mike89406
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RE: Mainstream Supermarkets In The US

Tue Dec 16, 2014 3:34 am

Quoting BubbleFrog (Reply 21):

Love the loyalty cards a one I have one from VONs that gives me up .20/gal off at Chevron, and Ralphs gives me the same amount off gas at Shell.
 
Alias1024
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RE: Mainstream Supermarkets In The US

Tue Dec 16, 2014 4:06 am

The current strategy seems to be to differentiate themselves by a combination of selection and prepared foods. The larger selection helps them ward off specialty retailers like Whole Foods and Trader Joes, the prepared foods and some high end products lure customers looking for convenience that might otherwise end up at a Target or Wal Mart. It's sort of a be everything strategy.

Quoting BubbleFrog (Reply 21):
I do think that to some extent the future lies in loyalty cards. Figure out what your customers want in a particular region and cater to that. No use selling okra in places that want convenience food, or vice versa. Tesco in the UK used to be really good at these things, I suppose they still are.

I actually wonder if it is more about making people feel like they're getting a deal and driving brand loyalty than figuring out customer wants. Companies like Wal Mart, Target, and really any of the large grocery chains have highly sophisticated inventory systems. They should be able to parse that data at individual store levels to find the best product mix.
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BubbleFrog
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RE: Mainstream Supermarkets In The US

Tue Dec 16, 2014 4:49 am

Quoting Alias1024 (Reply 23):
I actually wonder if it is more about making people feel like they're getting a deal and driving brand loyalty than figuring out customer wants. Companies like Wal Mart, Target, and really any of the large grocery chains have highly sophisticated inventory systems. They should be able to parse that data at individual store levels to find the best product mix.

Totally agree. Had duck breast in my coupons recently and it took me a while to figure out I had it last Xmas. Makes you feel appreciated.

But it makes localised ops that much more efficient, I think. And my life that bit nicer. Although I passed on the duck...
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N1120A
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RE: Mainstream Supermarkets In The US

Tue Dec 16, 2014 9:13 pm

Quoting sccutler (Reply 19):
The entire SoCal Safeway division (including some Nevada locations) was sold to Von's in 1988. It was a transaction with an option to purchase reserved to Safeway (because of the involvement of investment banking firm KKR).

Vons. It hasn't been branded Von's in decades, and the corporation doesn't even exist.

The 1988 sale included Safeway taking a minority stake in Vons, with an option to purchase the whole. Safeway did that in 1997. Safeway owns Vons, and has operated Vons as a subsidiary for 17 years.
Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
 
sccutler
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RE: Mainstream Supermarkets In The US

Tue Dec 16, 2014 9:45 pm

Quoting N1120A (Reply 25):
The 1988 sale included Safeway taking a minority stake in Vons, with an option to purchase the whole. Safeway did that in 1997. Safeway owns Vons, and has operated Vons as a subsidiary for 17 years.

I believe this is exactly what I have been saying.

Safeway sold SoCal (and some Nevada) to Von's in '88; Safeway bought it all (including the original Von's properties) in '97.

We're right, Dammit!  
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RE: Mainstream Supermarkets In The US

Wed Dec 17, 2014 12:50 am

Here in the Seattle area, Kroger's stores are under the Fred Meyer name - they are combination grocery and department stores, much like Walmarts - one stop shops. Their prices are usually lower than Safeway and I think it's at least partially a result of them being able to sustain lower profit (or even a loss) on some grocery items because, as was stated by others in reference to Walmart, they can make it up on selling more profitable items like hammers, jewelry, toys and garden supplies.
 
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RE: Mainstream Supermarkets In The US

Wed Dec 17, 2014 1:41 am

Quoting sccutler (Reply 26):
Safeway sold SoCal (and some Nevada) to Von's in '88; Safeway bought it all (including the original Von's properties) in '97.

Sounds like Safeway didn't do badly as they got 30% of Vons in return, which means they still owned a large chunk of those stores and walked away with $325 million cash. Then let Vons refurbish those stores and used their option to buy them all.
 
PPVRA
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RE: Mainstream Supermarkets In The US

Wed Dec 17, 2014 2:49 am

Here in the Atlanta area, Krogers are terrible. By far the best supermarket is Publix. And Costco.

http://www.publix.com

They have the best subs I've had, and for less than $8. And that's 12 inches of sandwich, too.

Wal Marts carry the basic of the most sold grocery items, and mostly junk items (pop tarts, hot dogs). Their deli is terrible. Target's grocery section is so small, it never pops into my head as a place to go. For that matter, I don't know why Target still exists. . .
"If goods do not cross borders, soldiers will" - Frederic Bastiat
 
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RE: Mainstream Supermarkets In The US

Wed Dec 17, 2014 3:19 am

Quoting PPVRA (Reply 29):
They have the best subs I've had, and for less than $8. And that's 12 inches of sandwich, too.

But, is that the reason you go to a supermarket?

Here, the big player is Kroger. Winn Dixie is long gone. I'm guessing that The Walmart Super Centers are running a close second.

There are an astounding 5 Krogers within 10 mile circle of my front door. 3 of them have been renovated and expanded in the last 2 years. One opened 10 years ago, so still fairly new.

In the same general area there is a Walmart Super Center, 3 Super Targets, 1 Meijer and one of those 2 of those Walmart Neighborhood Markets.

Kroger has gone a long way to try to make themselves a one stop shop, for groceries and a few non-grocery items. They've added sushi bar, olive bar, a cheese shop. The bakeries and delis have expanded. As these stores were being expanded, I thought it would be overwhelming and a turn-off, but they are well thought-out and designed to move people through efficiently. I like them. As long as Kroger can keep its pricing in line, I don't think they have to worry too much about Walmart eating too much further into their market share.
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cjg225
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RE: Mainstream Supermarkets In The US

Thu Dec 18, 2014 12:16 am

Like with any industry, it's about differentiation to a level that is wanted by the consumer.

Take Wegmans and Publix. Wegmans is a small northeastern chain and Publix is a large southeastern chain. Both are thriving despite competition from Wal-Mart, Target, and other retailers who sell food items. Both have differentiated themselves well in terms of the quality and breadth of their product offerings. Wegmans, especially, has a cult following in the northeast in part because of their rarity (only 83 stores, I believe, in five northeastern/mid-atlantic states). Wegmans is obviously pricier than Wal-Mart, but you're just not going to find many of Wegmans' offerings at Wal-Mart. The quality of their food is also substantially better. There are various things I buy at Wal-Mart because I can't get them at other stores, but they're usually lower-end food items. I would never buy produce at Wal-Mart and I prefer to not buy meat their unless it is brand-name. Publix is very similar in many respects to Wegmans, except it's positioned more in the middle or upper-middle of the spectrum (whereas Wegmans is firmly upper-end of the grocery store spectrum).

Wal-Mart SuperCenters will continue to do well, but they are not going to win over retailers who carry very high-quality items that many people are more than willing to pay for.
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rtalk25
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RE: Mainstream Supermarkets In The US

Thu Dec 18, 2014 6:29 pm

Quoting IADCA (Reply 7):
So what you're really saying is that Safeway has failed in your limited world of two large cities in Texas, plus Southern California, as newer stores opened. That's a limited sample and not really anything particular to Safeway. In my experience, Safeway has just as often been the successful interloper as the loser.

Safeway also failed in the Philadelphia region. It acquired Genuardi's but ending up selling the stores to Giant-Carlisle mainly, and few stores to Weis Markets. Genuardi's was non unionized.

However, it has one Genuardi's store open in Audubon, PA (presumably non unionized) left and a few Safeways (unionized) in Delaware. The Delaware stores are operated with Safeway's food distribution from Baltimore/MD area I believe.

With Albertson's owning Acme and Albertsons merging with Safeway, I assume these stores will convert to the Acme banner. I suppose that the Audubon, PA store would unionize if the Delaware Safeways and that single store convert to Acme, but there might be store closures along the way.

In the Philly market, there is Giant-Carlisle PA, Acme, ShopRite, A&P, Weis and Wegmans, and Delaware has the MD sphere of influence of Safeway, Food Lion and Giant-Landover, MD in state even up to Northern Delaware. Weis and Wegmans are more regional and privately owned, and ShopRite is a co-op of local owners.

A&P is a floundering chain. It closes a round of stores every 4 years or so, and recently closed all stores in SW NJ, so I'd expect even more closures from them. Eventually at some point, it will call it a day, but the unionized stores are mainly dumps, that ShopRite owners might not want them especially with other stores nearby, and same with Acme. The non unionized chains (e.g. Aldi, Giant-PA, Weis) wouldn't acquire a set of unionized stores. It might be stores will close as leases come up, or it's able to survive in the Philly market.

Giant-PA only has stores in SE PA and not in So. NJ or Delaware. Giant-Landover, MD has stores in Delaware and operates unionized stores while Giant-Carlisle,PA is non-union. There is also Bottom Dollar Food which is owned by Food Lion, but it will close it's stores soon.

Weis Markets is a PA chain and is proud to be one, but it has stores in Maryland, upstate NY and Northwest NJ, including a new one in Central NJ. Given that the chain is willing to operate in PA border states near PA, I'd be curious if it expands to Southern NJ as there will be a shortage of competing chains, especially after Bottom Dollar Food closes it's doors*. *Aldi purchased these stores, but it's unlikely Aldi will re-open even half of those locations.

There are a few super Wal-Marts. In the Philly region, all Targets went on an upgrade to include a wide market section. And there is Aldi which is slowly growing also, and Trader Joes.

I know of one Genuardi's store that closed right after the Target across the street expanded the grocery/market section in it's store, but the stronger chains, e.g. Wegmans and ShopRite, seem to be able to hold well against Wal-Mart and Target.

On the high end side, there is Whole Foods and Costco. Mom's Organic Market, a chain from the DC region, opened in Bryn Mawr, PA and is exploring more stores in the Philly region, so that expansion if so, will be interesting to see.

[Edited 2014-12-18 11:11:40]
 
Alias1024
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RE: Mainstream Supermarkets In The US

Thu Dec 18, 2014 11:09 pm

Quoting PPVRA (Reply 29):
For that matter, I don't know why Target still exists. . .

Superior shopping experience for only slightly more than Walmart. Focus on stylish yet affordable clothing and a better store experience is why Target has consistently had higher gross margins than Walmart.
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Mike89406
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RE: Mainstream Supermarkets In The US

Thu Dec 18, 2014 11:31 pm

Call me biased but I rarely step foot near Walmart, I like Target though. We have Albertsons here in SoCal as well. I love Whole Foods but they are pricey, Sprouts is near my house along with Trader Joes.
 
N1120A
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RE: Mainstream Supermarkets In The US

Thu Dec 18, 2014 11:48 pm

Quoting PPVRA (Reply 29):
They have the best subs I've had, and for less than $8. And that's 12 inches of sandwich, too.

Try Bay Cities in Santa Monica, California. You will never look at a sandwich the same again.

Quoting PPVRA (Reply 29):
Target's grocery section is so small, it never pops into my head as a place to go. For that matter, I don't know why Target still exists. . .

Cause people like it better than Exploit-Mart.
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HOOB747
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RE: Mainstream Supermarkets In The US

Fri Dec 19, 2014 3:44 pm

I worked at a Kroger in rural Ohio for the past 25 years, and our situation might be illuminating. Our store was a $500,000/week in sales store in the late 90's, without any real competition for 25 miles around. Then a Walmart superstore opened up right next door in 2002, and our sales immediately dropped to $350,000/week with the new competition. And being in such a rural area, the locals LOVED their new Walmart, which was built with their new, expanded grocery section.

But during the following 12 years, our Kroger store had 3 major remodels, including tearing down a wall and expanding our store 30% in size, increasing our natural/organic food selection (now the largest of any Kroger in the state) and catering to the upscale market, with an olive bar, Murray's Cheese and Starbucks, etc. Our business slowly returned and now we are a $1.2 million/week store, and our sales keep climbing. Kroger in our marketing area doubled-down on customer service training and empowering our employees to offer our customers a more personalized experience. It shows that people don't necessarily shop for the lowest price, if given a quality alternative.
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PHLapproach
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RE: Mainstream Supermarkets In The US

Sat Dec 20, 2014 5:05 pm

Quoting PPVRA (Reply 29):
Here in the Atlanta area, Krogers are terrible. By far the best supermarket is Publix. And Costco

Publix = overpriced. Every single product is consistently at least 50-75 cents more than it is at Kroger and they don't offer a rewards program. Although they make up for that a tad because they do BoGo and I believe they double and maybe even triple coupons which Kroger doesn't do. I still take Kroger hands down for the overall lower prices. But I will fully agree that Publix in store departments (e.g Bakery, Deli) hands down blow Krogers quality out of the water. But that's all they're good for.

Quoting fr8mech (Reply 30):
But, is that the reason you go to a supermarket?

+1 - I certainly don't choose a supermarket based off just that.

Quoting rtalk25 (Reply 32):
However, it has one Genuardi's store open in Audubon, PA (presumably non unionized) left and a few Safeways (unionized) in Delaware. The Delaware stores are operated with Safeway's food distribution from Baltimore/MD area I believe.

I had no clue any Genuardi's were still left. If I look back in the past 10 years the supermarket scene has gone through immense change in Philly. Settled down it seems since I moved to ATL in 2011 though. Just the changes I can recall in the past 10 years (mostly before I left the region). Clemens (independent in Lansdale area) bought out by both Giant and SuperFresh, Genuardi's bought out, Redner's pushed closer toward the Metro Philly area, Wegman's started pushing throughout the Metro area. So many changes.

Quoting PPVRA (Reply 29):
Target's grocery section is so small, it never pops into my head as a place to go. For that matter, I don't know why Target still exists

For the people that want to be with other normal folks which is not what you get in a Walmart...
 
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cjg225
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RE: Mainstream Supermarkets In The US

Sat Dec 20, 2014 6:23 pm

Quoting PHLapproach (Reply 37):
Publix = overpriced. Every single product is consistently at least 50-75 cents more than it is at Kroger and they don't offer a rewards program. Although they make up for that a tad because they do BoGo and I believe they double and maybe even triple coupons which Kroger doesn't do. I still take Kroger hands down for the overall lower prices. But I will fully agree that Publix in store departments (e.g Bakery, Deli) hands down blow Krogers quality out of the water. But that's all they're good for.

I love Publix when from when I lived in Florida, but I was thrilled when Publix opened a store in the Raleigh area recently. I found Publix to have prices comparable to those at Harris Teeter.

And Publix has phenomenal store brand goods. Really top notch.
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cgnnrw
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RE: Mainstream Supermarkets In The US

Sat Dec 20, 2014 6:53 pm

Quoting rtalk25 (Reply 32):
Weis Markets is a PA chain and is proud to be one, but it has stores in Maryland, upstate NY and Northwest NJ, including a new one in Central NJ. Given that the chain is willing to operate in PA border states near PA, I'd be curious if it expands to Southern NJ as there will be a shortage of competing chains, especially after Bottom Dollar Food closes it's doors*. *Aldi purchased these stores, but it's unlikely Aldi will re-open even half of those locations

I was hoping someone would mention Weis in their post. I agree it is very much a Pennsylvania institution. I worked their during college even managed to make it all the way to "Part-time Weekend Assistant Dairy Manager"! The Weis brand has a very loyal following in SE PA, when Walmart opened a lot of people didn't expect them to last against the local Weis market.
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RE: Mainstream Supermarkets In The US

Sat Dec 20, 2014 7:11 pm

Quoting fr8mech (Reply 30):
But, is that the reason you go to a supermarket?

Pretty much, yes. If I'm going in there to pick up a sandwich, it makes sense to pick up other things I need as well.

Quoting Alias1024 (Reply 33):

Quoting PPVRA (Reply 29):
For that matter, I don't know why Target still exists. . .

Superior shopping experience for only slightly more than Walmart. Focus on stylish yet affordable clothing and a better store experience is why Target has consistently had higher gross margins than Walmart.

I don't agree that Target offers a superior shopping experience. Their store sucks, it may look better, but they have fewer choices. And prices are not as good. Also, their "Market Fresh" brand is awful.

Quoting N1120A (Reply 35):
Try Bay Cities in Santa Monica, California. You will never look at a sandwich the same again.

Note taken!

Quoting PHLapproach (Reply 37):

Publix = overpriced

Publix has better quality stuff.
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fr8mech
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RE: Mainstream Supermarkets In The US

Sat Dec 20, 2014 8:38 pm

Quoting PPVRA (Reply 40):
Pretty much, yes. If I'm going in there to pick up a sandwich, it makes sense to pick up other things I need as well.


Fair enough. Just seems a strange way to measure the quality of a supermarket. I can see stopping at the deli to get something while shopping, but making a trip to the supermarket just to get to the deli seems a little counter-intuitive to me.

Quoting PPVRA (Reply 40):

Publix has better quality stuff.

I will just about always pay for quality, unless the quality really doesn't matter, e.g. gasoline. Gasoline is a commodity that whose "quality" is not adequately differentiated between vendors. Produce, on the other hand, I will spend more for good quality.

[Edited 2014-12-20 12:44:05]
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PHLapproach
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RE: Mainstream Supermarkets In The US

Wed Dec 24, 2014 2:45 pm

Quoting PPVRA (Reply 40):
Publix has better quality stuff.

So that gives them a reason to charge 80 cents more for a jar of Nutella or 50 cents more for a box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal?!?! What does quality have anything to do with regular pre-packaged food made by the conglomerates.
 
L-188
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RE: Mainstream Supermarkets In The US

Wed Dec 24, 2014 4:11 pm

Quoting Mike89406 (Reply 20):
but I've really taken to Ralph's

I want to go to SOCAL on some trip, both to visit the CAF wing in Camario and to get a Ralphs card just like Jeffery Lebowski's

Quoting Alias1024 (Reply 23):
Companies like Wal Mart, Target, and really any of the large grocery chains have highly sophisticated inventory systems.

As someone with a masters in Supply Chain, Walmart's system is a wonder to behold. It really allows them to work with the traditionally small margins the grocery industry has.

Quoting ER757 (Reply 27):
Kroger's stores are under the Fred Meyer name - they are combination grocery and department stores, much like Walmarts - one stop shops.

I remember Anchorage's Fred Meyers before they had a grocery section. That was added about 15 years ago up here.

Quoting HOOB747 (Reply 36):
But during the following 12 years, our Kroger store had 3 major remodels, including tearing down a wall and expanding our store 30% in size, increasing our natural/organic food selection (now the largest of any Kroger in the state) and catering to the upscale market, with an olive bar, Murray's Cheese and Starbucks, etc. Our business slowly returned and now we are a $1.2 million/week store, and our sales keep climbing. Kroger in our marketing area doubled-down on customer service training and empowering our employees to offer our customers a more personalized experience. It shows that people don't necessarily shop for the lowest price, if given a quality alternative.

Proveing that is is possible to compete with Walmart,

Quoting PPVRA (Reply 40):
Also, their "Market Fresh" brand is awful.

It has some good items but some of their stuff does have some weird flavors to it.
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cjg225
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RE: Mainstream Supermarkets In The US

Wed Dec 24, 2014 5:57 pm

Quoting L-188 (Reply 43):
As someone with a masters in Supply Chain, Walmart's system is a wonder to behold. It really allows them to work with the traditionally small margins the grocery industry has.

People with supply chain degrees, unite!  

You're right on, of course. They are simply a behemoth. I interviewed with a 3PL a couple years ago in Lowell, Arkansas. When I told people I was heading to the Fayetteville area for an interview, everyone assumed I was interviewing with Wal-Mart and thought that was awesome; alas, it wasn't with Wal-Mart, but you can see the influence they have. This random, isolated corner of Arkansas (okay, so Tulsa isn't that far away) has so many huge companies with a big presence just to cater to Wal-Mart. They draw so much water.
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Mike89406
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RE: Mainstream Supermarkets In The US

Wed Dec 24, 2014 8:10 pm

Quoting L-188 (Reply 43):

The dude abides...
 
L-188
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RE: Mainstream Supermarkets In The US

Wed Dec 24, 2014 8:35 pm

Quoting Mike89406 (Reply 45):
The dude abides...

Yeah, but I don't roll on Shabbos.

Quoting cjg225 (Reply 44):
You're right on, of course. They are simply a behemoth. I interviewed with a 3PL a couple years ago in Lowell, Arkansas. When I told people I was heading to the Fayetteville area for an interview, everyone assumed I was interviewing with Wal-Mart and thought that was awesome; alas, it wasn't with Wal-Mart, but you can see the influence they have. This random, isolated corner of Arkansas (okay, so Tulsa isn't that far away) has so many huge companies with a big presence just to cater to Wal-Mart. They draw so much water

Did you ever see that pop-tart case study?

For those of you who don't know this, Wal-Mart studied their inventory and sales levels of their merchandise and determined that just prior to and after a major natural disaster, such as a hurricane, sales of strawberry pop-tarts spike. So know that they can route additional stocks of strawberry pop-tarts to stores in the effected areas and they will move.

So if all of a sudden your local Wal-Mart has a surge in their stocks of Strawberry Pop-tarts seek shelter...a blow is coming
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cjg225
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RE: Mainstream Supermarkets In The US

Wed Dec 24, 2014 8:57 pm

Quoting L-188 (Reply 46):
Did you ever see that pop-tart case study?

For those of you who don't know this, Wal-Mart studied their inventory and sales levels of their merchandise and determined that just prior to and after a major natural disaster, such as a hurricane, sales of strawberry pop-tarts spike. So know that they can route additional stocks of strawberry pop-tarts to stores in the effected areas and they will move.

So if all of a sudden your local Wal-Mart has a surge in their stocks of Strawberry Pop-tarts seek shelter...a blow is coming

Yup. I remember that one well.

I wonder how many people know that Wal-Mart has a massive meteorology department that supports their supply chain activities?
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Alias1024
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RE: Mainstream Supermarkets In The US

Thu Dec 25, 2014 2:35 am

Quoting PPVRA (Reply 40):
I don't agree that Target offers a superior shopping experience. Their store sucks, it may look better, but they have fewer choices. And prices are not as good. Also, their "Market Fresh" brand is awful.

You're the only person I've ever heard that thought Walmart was a better shopping experience than Target.

When it comes down to product choices, I've never found Target to be lacking in what I shop for at either store. There are departments where each is stronger to cater to their clientele, but that's just smart business for both. I'm my mind the shopping experience is better at Target because the stores are generally cleaner, the shelves kept neater and usually better stocked, the stores less crowded, and Target doesn't have the annoying habit of throwing obstructions in the middle of the aisle. Walmart loves to take giant cardboard boxes full of product and stick them right in the middle of the busiest aisles, obstructing traffic and making the store feel cramped.

I honestly haven't tried much of their Market Fresh line, so you could be right on that.
It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems with just potatoes.
 
L-188
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RE: Mainstream Supermarkets In The US

Thu Dec 25, 2014 4:45 am

Quoting Alias1024 (Reply 48):
You're the only person I've ever heard that thought Walmart was a better shopping experience than Target.

You know, We have Three Wal-Marts in Anchorage, 1 each in Wasilla and Eagle River.

I loath shopping the three Anchorage stores. I was just at the Wasilla one today and it is huge but the only one where I have seen open carry in the store. The Eagle River one is the smaller footprint one and I like that one.

So for me it is the individual store

Quoting cjg225 (Reply 47):
I wonder how many people know that Wal-Mart has a massive meteorology department that supports their supply chain activities?

Yup, it's something their size allows them to have.
OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.

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