WAL-MART SUPERCENTERS DRIVE GROCERY SALES

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The supercenters of Wal-Mart Stores, Bentonville, Ark., are the grocery-shopping format of choice for 15% to 17% of all consumers, according to a report by Retail Forward here.The report, titled "Wal-Mart World Shopper Update," also found that, on average, U.S. households are buying 20% of their groceries and other household essentials at Wal-Mart, enabling Wal-Mart to approach its

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The supercenters of Wal-Mart Stores, Bentonville, Ark., are the grocery-shopping format of choice for 15% to 17% of all consumers, according to a report by Retail Forward here.

The report, titled "Wal-Mart World Shopper Update," also found that, on average, U.S. households are buying 20% of their groceries and other household essentials at Wal-Mart, enabling Wal-Mart to approach its goal of a 30% market share in every grocery category in which it competes.

Retail Forward, a consulting and market research firm, estimated that in 2003, the typical Wal-Mart supercenter generated sales of $488 per square foot, compared with $331 per square foot at a conventional Wal-Mart.

"What makes the Wal-Mart supercenter model work is its ability to draw frequent traffic with low food prices while also getting shoppers to cross shop the higher-margin general merchandise aisles on the same trip," the report said.

According to Retail Forward, 67% of supercenter customers at Wal-Mart cross shop the food and general merchandise sides of the store, and among customers who said they do most of their food shopping at a Wal-Mart supercenter, 85% indicated they shop both sides of the store on a single visit. A third of Wal-Mart shoppers said they are shopping more departments in the store than they did a year ago, the report pointed out.

Among grocery categories at Wal-Mart conventional and supercenter formats combined, 28.4% of shoppers buy household cleaning products, the report said; 27.3% buy pet food and other pet supplies; 26.8% buy candy or gum; 24.7% buy household paper products; 21.9% buy snacks; 18.9% buy non-alcoholic beverages other than carbonated drinks; 18.5% buy dry groceries; 17.6% buy carbonated beverages; and 16.1% buy del/bakery products.

At supercenters only, the report said 16.7% buy household cleaning products; 17.1% buy pet food and supplies; 17% buy candy and gum; 16.4% buy household paper products; 15.9% buy snacks; 14.4% buy non-alcoholic beverages other than carbonated; 17.5% buy dry groceries; 11.8% buy carbonated beverages; and 14.5% buy del-bakery products.

Retail Forward said 46% of all U.S. households said they shop at a conventional Wal-Mart or a Wal-Mart supercenter every month, compared with 80% who shop monthly at a supermarket, 49% at a drug store, 36% at a dollar store and 29% at a warehouse club. Among respondents, 53% said they shop a supermarket weekly, compared with 34% who shop at a convenience store, a conventional Wal-Mart or a Wal-Mart supercenter weekly, the report indicated; supercenters alone attracted 24% of weekly shoppers, compared with Target and SuperTargets at 10%, warehouse clubs at 9% and Kmart and Super Kmart Centers at 6%, the report noted.

Among those who shop at a Wal-Mart store monthly, Retail Forward said the typical customer runs the age gamut, with a preponderance of young parents with a lot of kids, with low- to middle-range incomes who tend to be less educated and living in small and midsized markets, while Target attracts a younger, more affluent shopper who's better educated and living in a large market, and Kmart attracts an older, lower-income customer, many without a high school diploma who live in non-metropolitan small markets.