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Half of the over 500 households surveyed nationally by Novato, Calif.-based Q & A Research said that their impressions of both Walmart and Target are more positive as a direct result of expanded grocery inventories in many of the retailers’ superstores.
“This is especially good news for these retailers who, in a recession, have come to appreciate that consumers can put off buying even discounted clothing and other merchandise, but can’t put off buying groceries,” noted Warren Pino, president of the Bay Area marketing research firm. “In fact, many consumers are now buying more groceries [and] opting to eat out less often to save on tighter household budgets. While the election to put both feet into the grocery business by these two retail giants was made in years prior to the woes of the current economy, that decision appears to be paying off handsomely.”
As further evidence of the inroads these big-box retailers have made in the grocery channel, the survey further showed that respondents who’ve shopped at a Target or Walmart superstore consistently rate them comparable to, if not better than, conventional grocery stores on many key performance areas, including everyday low prices, availability of both private label and name brands, shopping convenience, ample parking, and overall shopping experience.
Not everyone believes that buying groceries from Walmart or Target is desirable, however. “There is a very strong disparity between realized experiences from those who have shopped for groceries at these stores, vs. the perceptions of those who haven’t,” said Pino. “I think there is a certain proportion of the population that, regardless of how the economy affects them, is hesitant to buy produce and meats from stores that have traditionally sold them clothing and sundries.”