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What’s ahead for grocery in 2024?

Fasten your seatbelts grocery — we may be in for a bumpy ride

Chloe Riley, headshot 2023.jpgChloe Riley is the Executive Editor of Supermarket News, which delivers the ultimate in competitive business intelligence, news and information for executives in the food retail and grocery industry. A graduate of the School of Journalism at Columbia College Chicago, Chloe previously served as a Digital Strategist at SEO firm Profound Strategy, Associate Editor at B2B hospitality mag HOTELS Magazine, as well as CEO of her own digital strategy company, Chlowe. She lives in Woodstock, Illinois. 

Uncertainty. We sure have been living in plenty of it over the past several years. And now 2024 is upon us. The COVID-19 pandemic first started four years ago, and, while COVID itself still lingers, the shutdown effects are largely gone. Inflation is finally starting to abate, but the deflation that potentially looms ahead could make for a challenging year for traditional supermarket operators.

As part of our December feature, Supermarket News sat down with three analysts to get their perspectives on what’s to come in the new year. 

Scott Mushkin, founder and managing partner, R5 Capital, said he’s worried that the prospect of price deflation could pressure operator margins at a time when labor costs remain high — citing in particular the increasing competition from Aldi, Amazon, Costco, and especially Walmart.

“I think as you look at competition, the 800-pound gorilla, the 1,600-pound gorilla, the 2,400-pound gorilla, is Walmart, Walmart, Walmart,” he said.

Deborah Weinswig, founder and CEO of Coresight Research, found some reasons to be optimistic about traditional food retail, including opportunities around health and wellness, retailer media networks, and more personalized ecommerce relationships.

And what about the pending Kroger, Albertsons merger? Keith Daniels, managing partner, Carl Marks Advisors, said he expects that the pending merger of Kroger and Albertsons will likely eventually be approved by regulators in 2024, which could spur some of the competitors to consolidate as well.

As with anything, predictions only go so far: you have to get out there and live the year to truly know how it’s going to turn out. So let’s all go do a little living. Stay tuned to SN online: we’ll be posting our full analyst video interviews throughout December. The new year also brings new news for us — our competitor Winsight Grocery Business will be merging into Supermarket News. You can expect even more robust coverage and a handful of other fun digital goodies in 2024 — stay tuned on that as well. 

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