Here is what we understand; consumer discontinuity in food retailing began in 2005 and continues. New points of distribution are growing, with retail outlets becoming smaller in size. Nielsen in a new report finds “The underlying trend of shoppers moving away from larger to smaller stores continues. …Historically, traditional convenience stores were used for immediate or ‘distress’ purchasing, however,” Today the change is accelerating driven in large part by major supermarkets around the world investing heavily transforming C-stores with contemporized relevance.
“The future has already arrived; it’s just not evenly distributed.” A quote made famous by William Gibson sure comes to mind don’t you think. Fresh prepared “better for you” food and food options that are Ready-2-Eat or Heat-N-Eat continue driving the grocerant niches rapid success.
In the United States successful convenience store operators the likes of Sheetz, Rutter’s, and Wawa once notable regional players are now getting squeezed a bit by both 50,000+ unit 7 Eleven entering the fresh food meal niche and 1,700+ unit Casey’s General Stores who continues to drive sales and frequency with fresh prepared food.
Many legacy restaurant companies the ilk of Darden and Brinker will undergo additional scrutiny in order to find a repositioned niche that will sustain them over time. Legacy grocery stores that are seemingly stuck in the middle will simply fade away.
Wal-Mart’s supply chain advantage and industry reach will provide advantages, but won’t be enough to hold off Aldi or WinCo. The added points of fresh prepared food distribution in the retail channel offered by Walgreens and Rite Aid will renew the local neighborhoods focus and rekindle community sprit garnering share of stomach from all other sectors.
William Gibson quote: “The future has already arrived; it’s just not evenly distributed.” How many of you are prepared for 2010. If you have been waiting to see what’s next? If so you might have just missed the bus.
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