FRAMINGHAM, Mass. -- Are consumers opting for other retail formats for products they used to buy at supermarkets?
SN talked to shoppers at a Stop & Shop Supermarket here to see if their shopping patterns have changed. Framingham -- population about 65,000 -- is a middle-class suburb about 15 miles west of Boston. The town is a major retail center, so shoppers at this store would have easy access to other retail formats, including BJ's Wholesale Club, Sam's Club, a conventional Target store without a large grocery section and drug stores operated by Walgreen's, CVS and Brooks.
The area has lacked strong discount-store representation since Bradlees and Caldor went bankrupt and closed their stores here a few years ago, but Target opened just before Christmas, and retail industry sources report Wal-Mart will be moving into the former Caldor building.
Shoppers were asked whether they shop at other stores, which ones and where they shopped for specific items and why. Most said they shop alternative formats and are attracted to low prices. Club stores and some discounters were mentioned frequently. Very few said they were totally loyal to Stop & Shop. Here is what they had to say.
SN asked shoppers: Are you relying on other retail formats for products you used to buy at supermarkets?
Yes, Target usually, sometimes Wal-Mart. I buy beauty products, shampoos and stuff like that. Why? Just the price.
Occupation: Market Researcher
No, I don't because it's just my husband and me, and I don't buy in large quantities. I'm also a great user of coupons, and with triple coupons, I can buy much cheaper than my friends who shop at BJ's or Costco. But I do use more than one supermarket for grocery shopping. I do go to maybe three or four grocery shops, and I write on top of each circular exactly what I want [in each store].
No, I just go to Super Stop & Shop and Bread & Circus. I know my way around in those stores. I follow prices and try to buy things that are on sale. I can't always do that, but for the most part, I think the prices are good in supermarkets.
Yes, BJ's and a little bit at Target. I buy detergents, soaps, paper goods. You have to buy more of them, but they're cheaper.
Occupation: Stay-at-home mother
Yes, mostly at Sam's Club. I buy milk, meat, eggs. Things that can be frozen; I buy butter there and freeze it. Anything we use in quantity, like diapers, formula, some canned goods, depending on what they are. I shop there because of price.
I do go to BJ's. I basically go just between BJ's and the supermarket just for convenience. I will go to Target, but not for grocery shopping. I might pick up one little [grocery] item when I'm there. If there are things like soda on sale for 79 cents instead of paying $1.40 here, I would definitely go. But for my main grocery shopping, no. I don't have the time to go around to a lot of stores.
Occupation: Horse breeder
Yes [I do shop other stores], because when the prices are good, I take advantage of them, and sometimes it's convenient because I'm there. Mostly drug stores, CVS and Brooks. I buy soups, English muffins, sometimes cleaning supplies, that sort of thing. It's always the price.
Yes, Target for one, and BJ's. Mostly sale things, like crackers or cookies or water. [The supermarket] is kind of high [priced].
I go to both BJ's and the supermarket. For bigger things I go there [BJ's]. I buy oil, water, dishwasher detergent, orange juice, Lux and things like potatoes. I also buy their kosher chickens. Their kosher products are much cheaper than [the supermarket]. I go there for price.
Occupation: Preschool teacher
Sometimes I do [shop other stores]. I go to BJ's every once in a while, but no, not drug stores or discount stores. At BJ's I buy toilet paper, paper towels, drinks -- with three kids we use a lot of drinks. I buy those things because of cost and volume.
Yes, BJ's. The only things I buy here [at the supermarket] are the things I can't get at BJ's. Basically, I buy everything at BJ's -- there are six of us in my family.