Dollar, Convenience Stores Luring Shoppers Out of Supermarket Aisles

NJ Biz (

October 22. 2012 12:53PM

By Melinda Caliendo
American shoppers are looking for grocery values at nontraditional locations at a higher rate than ever before, according to a survey by Fort Lee-based Perception Research Services.

A ShopRite spokeswoman said other food retail outlets are competition, but in "a much different format" than other grocers. (File photo)

The survey found 35 percent of shoppers have purchased groceries at dollar stores, 47 percent at drug stores and 24 percent at convenience stores.

"Our latest findings on grocery shopping indicate how very discerning today's shoppers are about their venue preferences as well as brand choices," said Jonathan Asher, PRS executive vice president. "Retailers must understand their competitive strengths and capitalize on them while also making the necessary adjustments to their offerings to seize opportunities for a larger slice of the pie."

For ShopRite, the retail arm of Elizabeth-based Wakefern Corp., the other food retail outlets are competition, but in "a much different format" than other grocers, according to spokeswoman Karen Meleta.

Meleta said ShopRite's focus on fresh food and service — along with a wider range of variety — is what distinguishes it from other retailers and drives consumer loyalty. She added that the company is "more sensitive than ever" to the need for value, and the procurement experts for the company are "buying right and buying smart."

The PRS survey shows while consumers target supermarkets like ShopRite for variety and selection, when shoppers target a retailer for price, they look to dollar stores and mass merchandisers, like Wal-Mart and Target.

Dollar stores and other budget retailers also are being targeted to anchor shopping centers in the New Jersey, especially locations that previously were home to supermarkets. Matthew Harding, president and chief operating officer of Levin Management, in North Plainfield, said the company recently signed a lease with Big Lots, in Barnegat, to fill an empty A&P location.