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ACNielsen: Consumers Continue To Shop Less Often in Traditional Grocery Stores

SCHAUMBURG, Ill. -- Continuing a long-term trend, consumers made fewer trips to traditional grocery stores in 2004 as they sought greater savings, variety, or convenience in other retail outlets, according to a new study from ACNielsen, a VNU business.

ACNielsen’s "Channel Blurring" study showed that the average American consumer made 69 trips to the grocery store in 2004, down from 72 in 2003. Every year since 1995, when ACNielsen U.S. began its annual analysis of consumer shopping patterns, the grocery channel has experienced declines in shopping frequency. That year, U.S. households made an average of 92 trips to stores in the channel.

The findings are based on an analysis of data from the ACNielsen Homescan consumer panel, the consumer packaged goods industry's leading household panel.

"There are certainly pockets of innovation within the grocery store channel where retailers are succeeding," said Todd Hale, s.v.p. of consumer insights, ACNielsen U.S. "However, as a channel, consumers are shifting their trips to formats where they can either save more money or accomplish more of their shopping in one trip."

Dollar stores have enjoyed the strongest long-term growth in household penetration -- driven by the channel's rapid expansion -- while supercenters have grown the most in terms of shopping trips. The traditional mass merchandise channel continued to lose in both household penetration and shopping frequency in 2004, as more mass merchandisers either converted traditional stores to supercenters or closed under-performing stores. Shopping frequency in warehouse club stores, drug stores, and convenience stores remained flat. Both drug stores and convenience stores slipped slightly in terms of household penetration.
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