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Grocery shake-up raises bagful of questions
Sacramento Bee ^ | 2/19/6 | Jon Ortiz

Posted on 02/19/2006 3:39:51 PM PST by SmithL

Northern California's food fight is coming to a store near you.

It's already hit Mary Thomatos, a loyal Albertsons customer until the chain closed its J Street store near her east Sacramento home last summer.

Now the future of the other 25 Albertsons in the Sacramento region is in doubt after their parent company was sold last month. With Ralphs Supermarkets closing eight area stores soon, the grocery landscape is shifting so rapidly that by summer many consumers may no longer recognize their neighborhood store. Such change, those in the industry say, is something most of us should get used to.

Here's how the area's grocery chain scorecard looks as of now:

Ralphs: Gone as of early April.

Albertsons: In trouble. Changes, including store closures, are possible by summer as new owners take over.

Raley's, Nugget and Safeway: Surviving - but looking warily over their shoulders.

What does it mean for shoppers?

* Lower prices, as more of Wal-Mart's tires-to-toothpaste Supercenters open locally.

* Fewer traditional grocery stores, farther apart, with survivors retooling to compete.

* More niche stores with unique goods and atmosphere.

* Non-grocery businesses filling spaces vacated by departing food stores.

Thomatos said she's not a Wal-Mart fan and hopes the world's largest retailer doesn't exploit Albertsons' and Ralphs' woes to further elbow its way into the region.

"I hate to see Wal-Mart beat up on the little guy," she said.

But it's Wal-Mart Stores Inc., based in Bentonville, Ark., that is forcing most of the changes in the industry, locally and nationally. The company "always has its nose in the wind and smells opportunity when it's there," said Michael Banks, owner and partner of Las Vegas-based retail consultant Select Marketing LLC. "They're going to sense an opening and move in."

(Excerpt) Read more at sacbee.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; News/Current Events; US: California
KEYWORDS: albertsons; capitalism; grocery; grocerystores; kroger; ralphs; retail; safeway; walmart
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I'll miss Albertson's only because they provide competition to the stores where I shop.
1 posted on 02/19/2006 3:39:52 PM PST by SmithL
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To: SmithL

Are these union stores that are closing? The story doesn't seem to want to discuss that.


2 posted on 02/19/2006 3:42:00 PM PST by Larry Lucido
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To: SmithL

Ralph's and Trader Joe's kicked much Antelope.


3 posted on 02/19/2006 3:46:17 PM PST by CheyennePress
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To: SmithL

I went to Wally for groceries today. It didn't even have half of what I wanted. If grocery stores want to compete, maybe they should carry what Wally won't. I'm not going to stand in line for fifteen minutes, which I did today, to save less than five bucks, especially when I've got to go somewhere else to finish my shopping.


4 posted on 02/19/2006 3:50:48 PM PST by mewzilla (Property must be secured or liberty cannot exist. John Adams)
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To: SmithL
"I hate to see Wal-Mart beat up on the little guy," she said.

Ah, yes....it's Walmart who puts 'the little guy' out of business....NOT the shopper who shops at Walmart instead of 'the little guy'.

/sarc

5 posted on 02/19/2006 3:53:34 PM PST by Lizavetta
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To: SmithL
But it's Wal-Mart Stores Inc., based in Bentonville, Ark., that is forcing most of the changes in the industry, locally and nationally

How profound. As if WalMart is the only organization that ever caused change to occur. How many people complained that the light bulb caused change from oil lamps? Geeze.

6 posted on 02/19/2006 3:59:56 PM PST by taxesareforever (Government is running amuck)
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To: mewzilla

Was that a Wal-Mart Superstore, with meat and fresh vegetables, and a full line of groceries, or was it a regular store with a few aisles of food and milk?


7 posted on 02/19/2006 4:02:07 PM PST by ansel12
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To: mewzilla
I went to Wally for groceries today. It didn't even have half of what I wanted. If grocery stores want to compete, maybe they should carry what Wally won't. I'm not going to stand in line for fifteen minutes, which I did today, to save less than five bucks, especially when I've got to go somewhere else to finish my shopping.

It all depends on how important it is for you to save money.... you have to comparision shop for the best prices.

Brand name Triscuits cost $3.59 at Shop Rite. I get them for $2.99 at Walmart. I pay $1.89 for V8 Splashers at Walmart that cost more than $3.00 elsewhere.

In total I save AT LEAST $40.00/month shopping at Wal-MArt.

If $40/month is nothing to you, then by all means send it to me :)

8 posted on 02/19/2006 4:05:47 PM PST by Jorge
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To: taxesareforever

I think Albertsons is the biggest grocery conglomerate around, not exactly your little neighborhood grocer...


9 posted on 02/19/2006 4:12:33 PM PST by cfrels
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To: SmithL
Albertson's is a great store because of variety of products and the ability to check your own order. Plus my local store has a milf-ish brunette with beautiful *long* hair and twinkly eyes...
10 posted on 02/19/2006 4:14:43 PM PST by steveo (No Anchovies? You've got the wrong man, I spell my name steveo...)
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To: SmithL

This is a big problem in CA due to the unions, I bet.


11 posted on 02/19/2006 4:18:55 PM PST by Brilliant
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To: SmithL

I went grocery shopping at a relatively new Wal-Mart today where I live. It was clean, beautiful, spacious, and the prices were far less than the other two major grocery store chains in the area. The employees were very friendly.

40-45 years ago "supermarkets" ran the little grocers, butchers, and bread stores out of business. Where's the pity for ma'n'pa grocer with two aisles and limited selection today?

I didn't realize Safeway was still in business. They left my area 20 years ago after unions ruined them.

When I lived in another part of the country, I liked to shop at Albertson's because in the late afternoon they would always have fresh baked bread awaiting customers as they walked in the door. I'll always remember that.


12 posted on 02/19/2006 4:20:10 PM PST by D-Chivas
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To: mewzilla
"If grocery stores want to compete, maybe they should carry what Wally won't. I'm not going to stand in line for fifteen minutes, which I did today, to save less than five bucks, especially when I've got to go somewhere else to finish my shopping."

Amen, brother. Amen.

13 posted on 02/19/2006 4:21:23 PM PST by RightOnline
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To: SmithL

Why are these idiots always complaining about Wal-Mart selling food and running grocery chains out of business? Whole Foods Markets is growing like gang-busters, and no one complains about them putting ma-'n-pa gourmet shops out of business. Maybe it's because Whole Foods sells to college-educated folks?



14 posted on 02/19/2006 4:23:55 PM PST by LibFreeOrDie (L'Chaim!)
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To: SmithL

We shop at Walmart because we can save money and with the money we save, buy more groceries. Seems fair to me.


15 posted on 02/19/2006 4:24:37 PM PST by Dustbunny (Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans)
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To: SmithL

We go to Safeway, Albertsons, Frys, Bashas etc depending on what they have on sale. Walmart is almost alway cheaper in general and their produce is fresh (shipped direct from ol Mehee-Ko). All supermarket chains should consider closing all their stores in union states. Let em have to go out and kill it and grill it for all their foodstuffs...see how much they like the unions then.


16 posted on 02/19/2006 4:26:17 PM PST by Kokojmudd (Outsource the US Senate to Mexico! Put Walmart in charge of all Federal agencies!)
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To: Jorge

I was buying our favorite chili at Kroger's for $1.40 a can. It is 79 cents at Walmart. Alouette cheese dip is $5.40 at Kroger, and $3.50 at Walmart.

We do the same thing, choose those products that we use a lot and stock up at WM. With 4 kids, it is a significant savings.


17 posted on 02/19/2006 4:26:32 PM PST by Politicalmom (Must I use a sarcasm tag?)
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To: SmithL
Can't compete with super expensive union labor against the likes of Walmart.
The price conscious consumer is the winner.
Recall this once go for it all Grocer's strike that went nowhere for labor.
One of the main issues were medical costs which then already went up to $500 per month and employee.
Wages for checkers run up to $25,000.
The consumer won, Walmart stood firm, result:
More purchasing power to the consumer.
18 posted on 02/19/2006 4:27:02 PM PST by hermgem
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To: Dustbunny

One thing I couldn't find at walmart was #2 coffee filters. Other than that, I saved a bunch of money.


19 posted on 02/19/2006 4:29:52 PM PST by sabe@q.com (Yes, I'm a SW freak!)
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To: steveo

uh, dare I ask....what is a milf-ish brunette?


20 posted on 02/19/2006 4:32:41 PM PST by OldFriend (MSM ~ controversy, crap, & confusion.....compliments of Alan Simpson)
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To: Politicalmom
...at Kroger's for $1.40 a can. It is 79 cents at Walmart.

Snart!....almost a 50% savings on one item alone....$money in YOUR pocket.

21 posted on 02/19/2006 4:34:20 PM PST by Jorge
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To: OldFriend
probably not ;)
22 posted on 02/19/2006 4:39:46 PM PST by steveo (No Anchovies? You've got the wrong man, I spell my name steveo...)
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To: SmithL
I have recently had the occasion to spend time in Sacramento--(proud grandmother of identical twin grandsons!)

I had to do some grocery shopping while there--went to Ralphs and Albertson's, I believe.

You will have to take my word for this--but groceries were priced MUCH higher there than we pay in Texas. One little example--I buy jumbo sized eggs for 79 cents a dozen, at just about every store around here.

23 posted on 02/19/2006 4:44:45 PM PST by basil (Exercise your Second Amendment--buy another gun today!)
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To: LibFreeOrDie
Maybe it's because Whole Foods sells to college-educated folks?

No Whole Foods sells to people that have more money than sense. There are two Whole Foods in my area, and yes in more affluent areas. However their selection leaves much to be desired. As for Wal-Mart, I don't shop for groceries there much. What's popular in this area is Lowes Food (competitor of Harris Teeter market). Food Lions are still around but Winn Dixies have left the state completely

24 posted on 02/19/2006 4:46:03 PM PST by billbears (Deo Vindice)
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To: Larry Lucido

Albertson's is, and I am pretty sure Ralph's is in most areas.


25 posted on 02/19/2006 4:52:20 PM PST by ridesthemiles
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To: basil

We definitely had culture shock when we moved to California from Tennessee. Everything was much more expensive here.


26 posted on 02/19/2006 4:56:25 PM PST by SmithL (Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.)
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To: marajade

#2 coffee filters? Our Walmart has 4 cup, 12 cup and cone shape.


27 posted on 02/19/2006 5:03:49 PM PST by Dustbunny (Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans)
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To: mewzilla

> I went to Wally for groceries today. It didn't even have half of what I wanted. If grocery stores want to compete, maybe they should carry what Wally won't. I'm not going to stand in line for fifteen minutes, which I did today, to save less than five bucks, especially when I've got to go somewhere else to finish my shopping.

Hi mewzilla,

I have noticed the selection narrowing at the Wal-Mart SuperStore that I shop. Many flavors are being selectivly eliminated. Guess if the person ordering doesn't like this one, or that one, it doesn't get included. Quantity is also not appropriate for preferred types of cereal. Most often, they are out of Wheat Chex but have shelves full of Multi-Bran Chex (which I never buy).

I do not buy meat from them. Twice I opened a package of sausage (in a frozen tube) to find it was GREEN!

The local grocery I buy meat from does not stock Premium Saltines I love.

We have seen many Winn Dixie's close around here. They are the only store that carries the dog food we feed our dogs. While I will buy meat from them their prices are too high to buy everything from.

Can't win. . . .

Hang in there.
TL
4 posted on 02/19/2006 3:50:48 PM PST by mewzilla (Property must be secured or liberty cannot exist. John Adams)
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To: SmithL
"I hate to see Wal-Mart beat up on the little guy," she said.
Ah, yes....it's Walmart who puts 'the little guy' out of business....NOT the shopper who shops at Walmart instead of 'the little guy'.

/sarc


5 posted on 02/19/2006 3:53:34 PM PST by Lizavetta
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To: SmithL
But it's Wal-Mart Stores Inc., based in Bentonville, Ark., that is forcing most of the changes in the industry, locally and nationally
How profound. As if WalMart is the only organization that ever caused change to occur. How many people complained that the light bulb caused change from oil lamps? Geeze.


6 posted on 02/19/2006 3:59:56 PM PST by taxesareforever (Government is running amuck)
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Was that a Wal-Mart Superstore, with meat and fresh vegetables, and a full line of groceries, or was it a regular store with a few aisles of food and milk?



7 posted on 02/19/2006 4:02:07 PM PST by ansel12


28 posted on 02/19/2006 5:04:46 PM PST by Tomato lover
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To: Jorge
If $40/month is nothing to you, then by all means send it to me :)

7 miles east of me is a WalMart. Within 3 miles of me both East and west is a Home Depot. within a half mile is a Lowes.

Within 2 miles of me is Lakeside Shopping Center with all the upscale clothing stores I can only hope to afford. Within 3 miles of me is a Target, a Mervyns, a Meyers, a Big Kmart, a Farmer Jacks, a Kroger and a produce superstore called Nino Salvaggios............

How they all manage to stay in business I can only guess but the bottom line is that they are all competing for my dollar$$$.........and thats a good thing!

29 posted on 02/19/2006 5:14:57 PM PST by Hot Tabasco (When in doubt, I ask myself: "What would Jack Bauer do?" My boss isn't going to like the answer...)
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To: Lizavetta

Once upon a time ,the Great Atlantic and Pacific tea Company,(A&P) was the largest chain of stores in the USA. Guess
we're all doomed to starve to death.


30 posted on 02/19/2006 5:15:04 PM PST by Ed Condon (Wanted, newer tag line in good condition.)
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To: billbears

Whole Foods actually has "Large number of college-educated residents" as one of its criteria for building a store:

http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/realestate/index.html


31 posted on 02/19/2006 5:16:07 PM PST by LibFreeOrDie (L'Chaim!)
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To: SmithL

I too prefer Albertsons over Safeway or QFC. The things these store overprice are, Milk, soda, tobacco, paper products, bathroom items, pickles, popcorn etc. If Albertsons kept the gallon of milk at around 2 bucks instead of 4, a lot less people would try elsewhere.


32 posted on 02/19/2006 5:16:33 PM PST by jeremiah (The biggest threat to Americas survival today, meth usage.)
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To: Kokojmudd
Some of it comes from Spain and South America at this time of the year. I bought some clementines a few weeks ago and when I looked to see where they were from, the little sticker said Spain. We save about $100 a month shopping at Wal Mart. That is money we can spend somewhere else or give to the grandchildren especially our teenage granddaughter! She always needs money.
33 posted on 02/19/2006 5:21:37 PM PST by MamaB (mom to an Angel)
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To: Larry Lucido

Good point!


34 posted on 02/19/2006 5:25:46 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Ed Condon

"Once upon a time ,the Great Atlantic and Pacific tea Company,(A&P) was the largest chain of stores in the USA."

I remember A&P! Even though they were considered "supermarkets" in the early '50s, they pretty much sold just canned/frozen food. You still had to go to the shops along the main street to get the fresh foods: Kennedy's Butter & Eggs, local bakery, greengrocer, fish market, butcher. Quaint, but no one's gonna put up with that when you can have it all under one roof.


35 posted on 02/19/2006 5:26:30 PM PST by LibFreeOrDie (L'Chaim!)
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To: MamaB
Some of it comes from Spain and South America at this time of the year. I bought some clementines a few weeks ago and when I looked to see where they were from, the little sticker said Spain. We save about $100 a month shopping at Wal Mart. That is money we can spend somewhere else or give to the grandchildren especially our teenage granddaughter! She always needs money.

I have no problem buying produce shipped in from Spain or elsewhere....especially citrus..it is usually better than US produce. I already pay Sunkist anyway through my taxes for their corporate welfare.
36 posted on 02/19/2006 5:27:06 PM PST by Kokojmudd (Outsource the US Senate to Mexico! Put Walmart in charge of all Federal agencies!)
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To: cfrels

Does anyone know who bought Albertsons?

I will miss the Partner Store program that funneled money to youth programs at my church (as well as many other youth programs.)


37 posted on 02/19/2006 5:27:26 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: D-Chivas

You'll never see me in a Safeway store............reasons are my own.


38 posted on 02/19/2006 5:28:45 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: SmithL
They certainly aren't competitive around here, but if you can't find it anywhere else you'll probably be able to find it at Albertsons. You may have trouble paying the price though.
39 posted on 02/19/2006 5:28:48 PM PST by pepperdog
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To: SmithL

Sad, Albertsons was one of the stores that still allowed the Salvation Army bellringers at Christmas.


40 posted on 02/19/2006 5:29:36 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Politicalmom
I love both Wal-Mart and Sam's Club. I can't remember the exact prices on some of the stuff right now but your numbers seem close to what I see on other items I buy at Wal-Mart compared to Kroger. One price I think I can remember is on fresh cilantro. Wal-mart price is like 60 cents and Kroger is $1.40. Not only do you get a better price on the cilantro but it is also fresher at Wal-Mart. A few other things I would never buy at Kroger is pepperoni and tea. And if I did I would check the expiration date on it because they price stuff so high it sit on the shelves forever. The problem with Kroger and some other chains is that their normal everyday prices are much higher. You would have to be stupid to continue to buy stuff at the inflated prices some of these chain stores charge.
41 posted on 02/19/2006 5:31:10 PM PST by pepperhead (Kennedy's float, Mary Jo's don't!)
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To: jeremiah
If Albertsons kept the gallon of milk at around 2 bucks instead of 4, a lot less people would try elsewhere.

Our local Kroger doesn't over charge for milk. But that is the kind of thing they and others do on other items. That kind of stuff only makes people think twice about going shopping in their stores. Many of these stores and other people want to blame Wal-Mart for them having a hard time. But clearly some of the blame should rest on their shoulders.

42 posted on 02/19/2006 5:40:23 PM PST by pepperhead (Kennedy's float, Mary Jo's don't!)
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To: Dustbunny

We have a dual 8 cup cone filter coffee maker. Walmart didn't stock #2 cone coffee filters. Other than that and the heavy traffic I'm pleased about grocery shopping at Walmart. I usually save about 50 percent less than what it normally costs me at Frys.


43 posted on 02/19/2006 5:43:41 PM PST by sabe@q.com (Yes, I'm a SW freak!)
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To: Salvation

Safeway dairy sucks.


44 posted on 02/19/2006 5:45:06 PM PST by sabe@q.com (Yes, I'm a SW freak!)
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To: LibFreeOrDie

In the 1930's A&P had almost 16,000 stores in the US. They now have 427, in the US and Canada, with most of the stores in the Northeast.


45 posted on 02/19/2006 5:47:20 PM PST by Ed Condon (Wanted, newer tag line in good condition.)
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To: Salvation

I'll give you my reason. PRICES THAT ARE OUT OF SIGHT WHEN COMPARED TO OTHER STORES!


46 posted on 02/19/2006 5:52:59 PM PST by TaMoDee
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To: Larry Lucido
I know I'm spoiled rotten...I'm fortunate to have two Commissaries within a twenty mile radius. My monthly food bill (4 kids and an adult) is less than $400/month, and no, we don't starve to death. I did have the misfortune of shopping at Safeway over the holidays (they're open 24/7) and spent over $150 on a minuscule amount of groceries. I just hope the military doesn't turn over their commissaries to the large chains!!!
47 posted on 02/19/2006 5:58:05 PM PST by ebersole
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To: Ed Condon
Once upon a time ,the Great Atlantic and Pacific tea Company,(A&P) was the largest chain of stores in the USA. Guess we're all doomed to starve to death.

Like all chain retailers, every grocery chain since the first Kroger has been predicated on a single idea. Sometimes, that idea allows them to succeed; sometime it causes them to fail.

In the face of outmoded stores and stagnant sales, A&P's "idea" was to increase their profits by increasing the proportion of sales for their private label "house brand" -- at the expense of the national brands.

So, they gave Ann Page and the other A&P labels a disproportionate share of the shelf space and reduced the space allotted to, and the selection of, national brands.

As a consequence, A&P died even faster than they have otherwise succumbed.

Faced with the same problem -- outmoded stores and stagnant sales -- Winn-Dixie turned to private label as their savior, as well. Only their "idea" was to increase the profit by giving all their business to the lowest bidder -- irrespective of quality.

This strategy overlooks the fact that, at any given time, somebody can always have a lower price -- and that people buy products for their value, not their price. Which is to say, if it costs 10 cents less and it tastes like crap, you'll only save the dime once.

As a consequence, W-D keeps getting smaller and smaller. And, soon, Winn-Dixie will join A&P in that great warehouse in the sky...

48 posted on 02/19/2006 6:10:15 PM PST by okie01 (The Mainstream Media: IGNORANCE ON PARADE)
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To: Larry Lucido

In Maine, I notice in the towns with a Wal mart, the Walmart food parking side is always full while the Hannafords across the street is empty, even at prime shopping times. I predict it will close within three years.


49 posted on 02/19/2006 6:31:05 PM PST by Chickensoup (The water in the pot is getting warmer, froggies.The water in the pot is getting warmer, froggies.)
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To: SmithL
The leagcy of unions in California.

Once a giant, non union chain buries the union chains, smaller non-union, grocery cooperatives will pop up to satisfy the need of customers seeking a wider choice in branding and source.

50 posted on 02/19/2006 6:34:50 PM PST by Amerigomag
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