Is recession helping discount grocers attract thrifty shoppers?
Wake up and good morning. Is it the recession, the supposedly lower prices, the locations or the sheer novelty of thrifty grocery store chains that are pushing aggressively into the area? USA Today (story here) cites food analysts who say tough economic times are driving more shoppers to compact grocery stores like Aldi and Save-A-Lot (both operate in the Tampa Bay area) that offer fewer name-brand products but bigger savings than conventional supermarkets. Above, an Aldi interior (courtesy of Aldi).
What are those firms up to? Batavia, Ill.-based Aldi — the U.S. subsidiary of Aldi Group of Germany — has more than 1,135 stores in more than 30 states, and intends to open 80 to 100 more this year. There are 47 Aldi stores in Florida so far with about ten in the Tampa Bay area since 2008. More on that here.
And St. Louis-based Save-A-Lot, with more than 1,200 stores in 39 states, aims to double the size of the company within the next five years, bringing the total to 2,400 stores, company spokeswoman Chon Tomlin said. At least a dozen Save-A-Lot locations dot the Tampa Bay area.
Interestingly, the USA Today story picked Publix for the traditional grocery store industry response to the discount grocery store invasion. Publix, the story says, seems undisturbed by the competition, citing the rise of its lower-priced Publix brand products and its aggressive BOGO (buy one get one free) sales.
Do you shop at Aldi or Save-A-Lot? What's your experience?
-- Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist