24 Center Store Handbook 2016/2017 www.groceryheadquarters.com
Low prices are still king when it comes to attracting shoppers to the center store, yet retailers are try- ing other strategies as well. Visits to five supermar- kets in suburban Philadelphia are a case in point.
Four of the stores—Acme, ShopRite, Giant and
Weis—advertise special deals in circulars available in the
front of the store. The fifth, Wegmans of Cherry Hill, N.J.,
entices shoppers by posting a pale blue sign near the
main entrance that reads: “Lobster Mac & Cheese, fresh
daily.” The theory, of course, is that once shoppers are
inside the supermarket, they’ll probably find their way
to the center store, where Wegmans believes its prices
compare favorably with the competition.
Given that one store’s soda bottles and paper-towel
rolls look very much like those of its competitors, are
there ways supermarkets can set themselves apart?
“Historically, retailers have been selling real estate,
right?” says John Stanton, a professor of food marketing
at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. “They pretty
much let the category captains decide what’s going to
be on the shelves. All of this is changing, but the history
is that the manufacturers had as much input in what a
store looked like as the retailer. In that case, the manu-
facturers are going to try to get the same plan in every
One way a store can set itself apart is by making its
aisles easier to navigate. Wegmans, for example, has a
horizontal aisle that bisects its vertical aisles so custom-
ers can move from one aisle to another without having
to march the length of the store. The horizontal aisle also
provides more end-cap display opportunities, which
means more revenue potential.
Grocery Headquarters looks at how five Philadelphia area
supermarkets approach the center store.
BY BARRIE DAWSON