THE FRIDAY 5: Shedding Light On Shopper Satisfaction; Embracing Grocery's Future

Walmart continues to make news this week, as does ALDI
Emily Crowe
Multimedia Editor
ALDI Fresh
ALDI being crowned as Progressive Grocer's Retailer of the Year continues to make waves among its audience.

Welcome to The Friday 5, Progressive Grocer’s new weekly roundup of the top news and trends in the food retail industry. Each Friday, we’ll take a look at the stories that are most important to our readers and also keep tabs on the trends that are poised to impact grocers. 

1. Shopper Satisfaction Strikes a Chord

This week’s top story among PG’s readers shed light on the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) "Retail and Consumer Shipping Study 2023-2024," which found that customer satisfaction in the grocery sector rose 4% compared to last year for a collective score of 79. This year, repeat customer satisfaction winner Trader Joe’s was usurped by Costco, H-E-B and Publix, which shared a three-way tie atop the industry with a store of 85. Costco’s score climbed 4%, H-E-B’s rose 5% and Publix's went up by 4% in the past year. Trader Joe’s came in fourth with a score of 84.

The study also delved into various aspects of satisfaction, with Publix performing best for in-store experience, including staff courtesy and store cleanliness and layout. Costco and H-E-B ranked highest for value, the ACSI's researchers found. Shoppers were satisfied with private label offerings at all three of those grocers.

2. ALDI Still Soars

It’s been nearly three months since ALDI was named PG’s Retailer of the Year, but readers can’t get enough of the news. Last week, ahead of the expected closing of a massive deal for ALDI to acquire 400 Winn-Dixie and Harveys Supermarkets stores, Southeastern Grocers completed the divestiture of its other banner, Fresco y Más. ALDI also made news more recently for its big play ahead of the Super Bowl, unveiling 25% markdowns on all the fixings for a football feast, including dips, pizza, meatballs and more.

3. Walmart’s Big Moves

There’s been no shortage of Walmart news already this year, with the retailer making several announcements spanning its adaptive retail strategyincreased pay for managers and a 3:1 stock split to encourage more associates to get in on the action. The retailer unveiled two big initiatives this week, including its plans to expand its footprint and improve hundreds of its existing stores over the next five years. Walmart plans to build or convert more than 150 stores by 2029 and also remodel 650 stores across 47 states and Puerto Rico during the next 12 months.

Additionally, starting this year, all of Walmart’s store managers will receive an annual stock grant of up to $20,000. The amount of the annual stock grant is based on store format: $20,000 for a Supercenter, $15,000 for Neighborhood Market or Division 1 store, and $10,000 for a Hometown store.

Dollar General 2023 Main Image
Dollar General's commitment to providing fresh produce to its customers has made news.

4. Dollar General Ramps Up Access to Fresh Foods

The discount retailer announced this week that it will provide convenient access to fresh affordable foods through a partnership with Shelf Engine and a national rollout of the latter’s automated AI ordering technology for produce. By the end of fiscal year 2023, this collaboration will see Shelf Engine’s AI technology deployed in around 3,000 stores, reaffirming Dollar General’s commitment to fighting food insecurity across the United States.

Meanwhile, an analysis of Dollar General’s latest milestone also made news. The company has surpassed its latest milestone, now offering fresh produce options in more than 5,000 stores across the country. With this achievement, Dollar General says it has more individual points of produce distribution than any other U.S. mass retailer or grocer.

5. Embracing the Future

The future of retail media is always big news, and this week an exclusive interview with Evan Hovorka, VP of product and innovation at Albertsons Media Collective, caught readers’ attention. Hovorka believes the next big opportunities in retail media will be centered on the potential of connected TV (CTV), in-store campaigns, and on-site search, saying the future of retail media “is going to be a lot of in-store." 

The future of physical stores also garnered attention this week, with Meijer sharing that it is enhancing operational efficiency and customer experiences with a new network strategy focused on connectivity and artificial intelligence that could prove to be a roadmap for the store of the future.

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