Study Sees Average Shopper Not Finding at Least One Item

Grocery customers leave stores not purchasing at least one item they planned to buy or a substitute product 16.6% of the time, according to a new study from IHL Group.

FRANKLIN, Tenn. — Grocery customers leave stores not purchasing at least one item they planned to buy or a substitute product 16.6% of the time, according to a new study from IHL Group here. This equates to losing 68 cents in sales per customer.

The study — “What’s the Deal With Out-of-Stocks?” — looks at why retailers in the food/grocery, home improvement, or electronics categories lose sales to consumers who want to spend money at their stores but leave without purchasing for reasons other than price. Among grocers studied, the best in-stock performance was observed at Safeway (14.7% of consumers experiencing an out-of-stock with at least one item), while the worst was seen at Food Lion and A&P (22.8%).

“Retailers remain in denial when it comes to consumers’ perceptions of out-of-stocks,” says Greg Buzek, president of IHL Group, in a statement. “Consumers don’t care why the product is not available. They come in with money to spend at the stores and have to leave either because the shelves are empty, there is no one to help get a locked item, or the staff simply cannot find the merchandise even though the computer system says they have it. Nine percent of all consumers in our study have simply stopped shopping at one or more retailers in the last 12 months due to the problem.”

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