Regional grocers like ShopRite are finding what it takes to succeed amid uncertain times.
Regional grocers have proven to be powerhouses over the past several years of economic uncertainty, and several have begun to stand out from the crowd when it comes to growth, customer service and more. Foot traffic data company Placer.ai took a look at five such food retailers that have proven that regional chains can “thrive and carve out niches for themselves within their communities.”
The key regional players identified by Placer.ai include:
1. Stater Bros. Markets
The Southern California-based retailer operates 170 locations throughout the Golden State, and has seen overall monthly visits grow in 2023 relative to 2022 despite closing several stores. Stater Bros. also experienced a year-over-year increase in average visits per venue, and its strong foot traffic trends show that not only is it maintaining its loyal visitor base, but also that customers who used to patronize the shuttered stores are likely now visiting the chain’s other locations.
2. Smart & Final
The California-based warehouse grocery chain has a loyal customer base and also offers warehouse-style shopping options sans membership at its Smart & Final Extra! stores. Smart & Final outperformed both the California grocery category and the wider nationwide grocery sector on a year-over-year monthly visits basis, and is poised to continue thriving as cash-strapped consumers continue to prioritize bulk grocery shopping.
3. WinCo Foods
Boise, Idaho-based WinCo Foods was recently ranked as one of the cheapest grocery stores in the United States and has experienced strong year-over-year visit growth, with August visits up 3.6% in relation to August 2022. Additionally, the share of WinCo visitors spending between 30 and 44 minutes in its store grew from 27.4% in 2022 to 30% in 2023.
4. ShopRite & Price Rite
These Wakefern Food Corp.-owned grocers have different operating models, but both have seen positive monthly foot traffic on a year-over-year basis. Discount-driven Price Rite has consistently exceeded ShopRite’s visits, but each banner has successfully embedded itself in its respective communities.
5. Market Basket
The popular 100-year-old New England grocer operates 88 locations across New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island and Massachusetts, and its average visits have pulled ahead of the wider grocery industry since January 2022. Strong customer loyalty is keeping Market Basket head and shoulders above the rest, and its ability to invest in the shopper experience and foster a sense of community have shown how independents can drive success in grocery.
“There’s plenty of room for many kinds of grocery retailers to thrive and carve out niches for themselves within their communities,” wrote Placer.ai’s Bracha Arnold. “The success of Market Basket and Stater Bros. proves that investing in community pays off, while WinCo and Smart & Final’s elevated visits demonstrates the appeal of bulk buying. ShopRite and Price Rite’s success within their region shows that offering shoppers a range of options from the same umbrella pays off.”
San Bernardino, Calif.-based Stater Bros. operates nearly 170 supermarkets in Southern California and employs about 18,000 associates. The company is No. 54 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2023 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. Keasbey, N.J.-based Wakefern is No. 29 on the list and WinCo is No. 42. Commerce, Calif.-based Smart & Final was acquired in 2021 by Chedraui USA, which sits at No. 48 on The PG 100.