(Editors' Note: This is part two of a five-part series.)
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If you listen to some media reports, brick-and-mortar retail is doomed. Grocery operators remain relatively optimistic about the retail climate, however, with 45 percent more optimistic than a year ago and one-third reporting the same level of optimism compared with a year ago. This is down slightly from last year, when 51 percent reported increased optimism, and only a quarter felt the climate would remain the same.
Progressive Grocer also surveyed consumers about how they felt about their own personal finances, which will affect how much they spend in grocery stores. Their optimism is slightly lower, with 43 percent being more optimistic about their finances from a year ago, and then, in common with retailers, one-third indicating no change in their financial outlook.
While 350 food stores closed in the past year or so, including Southeastern Grocers, which closed 22; The Fresh Market, which shuttered 15; and Tops Market, which shut down 10, John Ross, the CEO of IGA Inc., chooses to see this as an opportunity.
“The [media] is talking about a plague,” he noted during the recent IGA Global Rally in San Diego, “but it’s really a renaissance. The shopper is asking us to change and expand.”
It’s up to retailers to listen to customers, and then provide the solutions they’re asking for.