Future Leaders Can Learn From the Best

Future Leaders Can Learn From the Best

SN highlights lessons that can be gleaned from food retailers that excel in 7 key areas

In this issue SN examines seven food retailers who excel at particular aspects of their businesses, from pricing (WinCo [4]) to fostering community (Whole Foods [5]).

As the industry gathers at this week’s Food Marketing Institute Future Connect conference [6] on training and development, each of the retailers profiled is examined with an eye toward the lessons they offer for the industry leaders of the future.

For example, while few traditional supermarket operators might want to emulate Trader Joe’s [15] assortment of 80% private label, they might be able to emulate the chain’s penchant for coming up with original own-brand products that can’t be found anywhere else.

Likewise, retailers envious of Kroger [16]’s steady stream of sales gains might want to take a look at the way it uses its loyalty card data — not just to offer discounts for regular customers, but to help optimize product assortments and adjacencies.

“What Kroger has done is recognize that the data is rich from a merchandising standpoint, and not just a target-marketing standpoint,” noted Jim Hertel, managing partner at Willard Bishop, Barrington, Ill.

And while food retailers around the country seek to come up with secondary formats to help meet specific consumer needs or cater to specific demographics, they might take a lesson from H-E-B [17], which has created successful banners at both the high and low end — Central Market and Joe V’s, respectively — that are operationally distinct from the core H-E-B chain yet still leverage that company’s strengths where appropriate — such as in private label and prepared foods.

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