Tough Time = Gains in CPG Sales at Wal-Mart: Report

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Tough Time = Gains in CPG Sales at Wal-Mart: Report

Consumer shopping habits continue to shift as they try to save money. A new study by Chicago-based Information Resources, Inc., "IRI Times and Trends: Wal-Mart: Helping Consumers Navigate a Transforming Economy," explores the role of the world's largest retailer in this shopping pattern change.

"Low prices and one-stop shopping have proven to be an incredibly powerful combination at a time when consumers are forced to strategize to maximize gas usage and stretch budgets as far as they will go. Wal-Mart is exceptionally well positioned for growth," said president of IRI innovation and consulting Thom Blischok.

Wal-Mart is now posting gains in 84 percent of the top 100 consumer packaged goods categories, added Blischok.

According to the report, lower- and middle-income consumers increased spending at Wal-Mart early in the economic downturn, while upper-income consumers significantly increased CPG spending at Wal-Mart during the past six months, as gas prices rose.

Blischok noted that this economic shift is creating new "rituals," including dining at home with friends, in-home beauty treatments, switching to less expensive brands, and even turning to over-the-counter medicines rather than see a doctor.

"The sea of economic uncertainty is troubling to consumers, so retailers and manufacturers across the board have a unique opportunity to help them forge a new path," he said.