(Editors' Note: This is part one of a five-part series.)
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The lines between success and failure have been growing closer together. Grocers have had to shrug off their age-old reluctance to try new things because not to try is to fail. Fence-sitters have been forced to become limb-sitters. Always being in a state of readiness for a battle they ultimately might not win — it’s a reality that grocery retailers have spent the past several years getting used to.
Perpetual disruption by new generations of innovators have forced a mature $700 billion industry to enter a state of constant reinvention, investing significant resources in creating a seamless omnichannel experience while leveraging core competencies in feeding the masses.
“A great ecommerce business sits on a great brick-and-mortar business. You can’t have one without the other,” Albertsons Cos. CEO Jim Donald remarked at this year’s Shoptalk conference.
Technology and competition are great motivators for innovation, but grocery executives responding to Progressive Grocer’s latest Annual Report survey said that talent is actually the top issue keeping them up at night.
Progressive Grocer’s 86th Annual Report of the Grocery Industry is based primarily on an exclusive survey conducted among executives at supermarket chains and independent operators across the United States.
Among this year’s 66 retail executive participants, 64 percent classify themselves as independent retailers, 21 percent as regional chains and 5 percent as national chains. Of the total respondents, 74 percent operate fewer than 50 stores, while 26 percent operate 50 stores or more.
Additional store count and sales data are provided by Nielsen TDLinx, which maintains a national database of supermarket and other retail-format locations.