GM-focused Retailers Continue to Encroach on Grocers' Turf: Webinar

ELMWOOD PARK, N.J. -- Nontraditional retailers will continue to pose a serious threat to supermarkets as market share in the food retailing industry shifts even more from food-focused to general merchandise-focused retailers. That was the key takeaway from the "Future of Food Retailing" Webinar held yesterday by the Food Institute here and Barrington, Ill.-based Willard Bishop Consulting.

General merchandise-focused retailers have an advantage because they've got greater latitude to use food/consumables as a draw, noted Bill Bishop, president of Willard Bishop, and Jim Hertel, s.v.p. of Willard Bishop. (General merchandise-focused retailers are defined as having less than two-thirds of their business in foods and consumables.)

The consultants backed up their conclusion with powerful data, which showed that in 2005, 51 percent of the market share for food and consumables went to food-focused retailers, while a notable 33 percent belonged to general merchandise-focused retailers. Bishop and Hertel predicted that in 2009, the equation will shift to where 46 percent of the food/consumables market goes to food-focused retailers and 39 percent goes to general merchandise-focused retailers. 2013 could be the "cross-over tipping point," they noted.

Within food-focused retailers, two types of stores continue to gain share, according to the consultants. Limited-assortment stores are expected to grow from a 2005 share of 1.7 percent of the market to a 2 percent share in 2009. Fresh stores, meanwhile, are expected to grow from a 2005 share of 0.7 percent to 1.2 percent in 2009.

Supercenters continue to gain share from 14 percent in 2005 with a projection of 17.3 percent by 2009, according to data shared in the Webinar. The introduction of more extensive food in mass merchants has almost stopped their share loss in food and consumables at a share of 5.5 percent.

In summary, discounters now represent more than 30 percent of the total market, up from 25 percent in 2000. Discounters include: clubs, supercenters, dollar stores, mass, super warehouse stores, and limited-assortment stores.
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