several years. Key drivers are healthier-for-you and premium tier
products. There has been a lot of innovation in these areas and
this is driving interest and trial/repeat behavior.
GHQ: Are there certain categories that retailers should
be paying more attention to based on your findings?
SV: Key areas of opportunity for center store are categories
that cater to healthier-for-you and on-the-go eating; health and
beauty solutions that provide home-based treatments—
professional quality at a lower price; and meal and snack solutions that
offer excitement, a “local” feel and artisan quality.
The fastest-growing categories, based on dollar sales, are
refrigerated side dishes, bottled water, spices and seasonings,
butter/butter blends, ice cream/sherbet, ready-to-drink tea/
coffee, sports drinks, energy drinks, refrigerated salad/cole-slaw, and pastry/doughnuts.* As you can see, many of these
categories are center store categories. They play to on-the-go,
healthier-for-you, excitement, at-home/from-home eating.
GHQ: The IRI report noted that new store formats are
coming into play as a way to address competitive pres-
sures. How are these new formats addressing center
SV: Retailers across channels are building out key areas of center store. For example, more food and beverage assortment will
drive foot traffic; more beauty/personal care brings an opportunity to build margin with higher-ticket items; and expanded
private label assortments have raised the value proposition.
The dollar channel, for instance, has had great success
employing these strategies. But, it’s critical to note that stores
must also be selective in developing their assortment plans.
Square footage is at a premium and consumers want quick
and efficient shopping trips. They don’t want to stumble
around looking for the items they need. Retailers must target
their assortment to ensure that they have the right products
at the right price and the right time for their key shoppers.
Personalized shopping is quickly becoming the new norm.
GHQ: How is e-commerce impacting center-store
SV: E-commerce is really impacting all sectors of the CPG mar-ketplace…The headline is that e-commerce is changing the way
consumers shop—it’s heavily used in the pre-planning process.
Digital will influence 77 percent of all retail sales this year.**
Retailers really need to understand how shoppers move in the
online world so that they can get their messages onto that path
to purchase and understand the new competitive environment
(which is much larger).
GHQ: Do you have any advice for retailers seeking ways
to boost center store sales?
SV: Understand that shoppers are individuals and want to be
treated as such. Retailers must take the time to understand
their key and target shoppers—who they are, how they move
online, what their online and in-store behaviors are. They need
to influence online shoppers to come to the store with relevant
messaging—relevant selection, great value, perhaps money-off
or similar. Getting assortment right means right product, right
place, right time, right value message. CS
*Source: IRI CISA; 52 weeks ended February 19, 2017; among
the 50 largest CPG categories
**IRI Consumer Network