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Progressive Grocer Annual Report

Progressive Grocer’s 91st Annual Report: How Grocers Are Connecting the Dots

State of the industry reveals retailers' intent to sync their operations and stakeholders
Lynn Petrak, Progressive Grocer

Pop-up situations — in some cases, bona fide crises — defined the early years of this decade and led to a laser-like focus on specific driving issues, whether it was the pandemic, supply chain bottlenecks, labor shortages or, more recently, inflation. Those old enough to remember Whac-A-Mole might see an analogy between that arcade game and the often necessary approach to handle (and sometimes hammer) problems at hand. 

As rapid-onset, acute challenges have largely receded, grocers and brands are moving from pivot mode to harmonizing their operations and approaches with employees, shoppers and partners, leaning into innovations like advanced technologies while also adhering to practices that made them resilient during the toughest times. The results of Progressive Grocer’s 91st Annual Report affirm that retailers are working to connect the dots across many aspects of their operations to create cohesion and a shape that reflects their mission and values, all while striving to keep or add to their margins. 

[RELATED: Progressive Grocer's 75th Consumer Expenditures Study]

While understandably wary about the potential for additional unexpected events or trends — especially during an election year at a time of ongoing global discord and economic wobbliness — grocers facing the midpoint of this decade are more positive than they have been during recent disruptive years. Of the retailers polled by Progressive Grocer, 19% have a strong positive outlook for 2024, giving that sentiment a nine-out-of-10 score. While that rate may not seem overwhelming, it’s up 10% from the prior year. Further, a solid majority of 57% rate their company prospects as a seven or eight out of 10.

With a more positive outlook — or a less negative one, as the case may be — grocers have room to think about strengthening and then aligning facets of their operations to move their organizations forward. They also recognize the imperative of shoring up their respective operations as competition gets stronger within and beyond retail.

Based on retailer feedback, the state of this industry remains admirably resilient, thanks to investments in technologies and infrastructure, a collective embrace of innovation across products and experiences, and, perhaps most important, a sustaining belief that food retailers play a pivotal role in supporting people and communities. 

A closer look at PG’s latest state-of-the-industry study reveals some areas that are becoming more connected in the effort to better define grocery businesses and bolster their performance.

Syncing Up the Omnichannel 

The words “seamless” gets tossed around a lot, but with good cause: In an increasingly omnichannel world, grocers are working to create a consistent experience for shoppers in both the digital and physical space. 

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