Shifts in Shopping Patterns Could Be Permanent: Study

Decisions by shoppers to spend less and shift to lower-priced retailers to cope with rising food and gas prices "are capable of shaking the retail landscape and creating seismic shifts," TNS Retail Forward, a consulting and market research firm, said yesterday.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Decisions by shoppers to spend less and shift to lower-priced retailers to cope with rising food and gas prices "are capable of shaking the retail landscape and creating seismic shifts," TNS Retail Forward, a consulting and market research firm here, said yesterday. According to Mandy Putnam, a vice president with TNS Retail Forward, retailers' customer profiles are shifting — not just because they are gaining customers who are trading down but also because they are losing customers looking for more value-oriented channels. "Whether new patrons permanently adopt these retailers depends on how well retailers address the needs of their new customers and how well new patrons acclimate to shopping in less-familiar territory," Putnam said. According to TNS Research, 26% of shoppers said they are switching to retailers other than where they usually shop to offset high gas prices, including patrons of upscale and specialty formats, who say they are shopping less often to get better deals elsewhere.

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