Target leverages mini luxuries: The big question looming over all of grocery is — how do you compete with Walmart on price? Target may have an answer — don’t compete with Walmart at all. The Washington Post reports that — while Target is often compared with Walmart when it comes to grocery, its shoppers look a lot more like the overeducated and underpaid demographic of Trader Joe’s shoppers. And, if Target can draw consumers in with its expanding grocery selection, there’s always the opportunity to tempt them with the little affordable luxuries it sells — the way to go at a time when consumer insights provider NIQ estimates that some 90% of consumers are skimping on grocery bills. Whole Foods and Sprouts Farmers Market are also playing in this space, where a new wave of competition is playing out. An exciting space to watch. And watch it, we will. —Chloe Riley
Don’t worry, he has it covered: Remember the Trader Joe’s cashier who bought a bouquet of flowers for a distraught customer? Well, enter cashier Robert Gillock with wallet in hand. The WinCo worker in Wenatchee, Wash., saw a shopper struggle to come up with enough dough at the register, so he pulled out his own money to make up the difference. A customer watching the episode also offered up money to help make the short-changed shopper’s day, but Gillock said he had the situation under control because he knew the exact amount. Betsy McGee, who works at the local Dollar Tree, said Gillock can relate because he knows what it is like to go through tough times. Gillock is also described as a really kind human being. There are so many grocery superstars out there who deserve to be recognized like this. Let’s hope the universe pays them all back in spades. —Bill Wilson
Who needs the internet when you have "mystery box"? Last month, a tweet about Costco’s cake-ordering process went viral. The tweet said that if you wanted to order a cake from Costco, you couldn’t call or order online, but rather, you had to write down your order and place it into a box. Yep, a box. A reporter from Business Insider went on a mission to see if the mystery box really did turn out a good cake, and by jove, it sure did. Though one Twitter user said the system was reminiscent of something created in the 1800s, another user replied that he trusted “Costco’s paper in the box system more than the USPS.” So there you have it. It all comes down to reliability, box or no box. —CR
What’s the next move? When inflation hands you lemons, you look for the best produce deal. Shoppers have been shifting their buying habits for months now, and the behavior is likely to continue as the economy heads towards what looks like a recession. According to the latest research from market analytics firm NielsenIQ, 35% of shoppers say they now only buy essentials at grocery stores, and another 31% said they were buying cheaper alternatives, like private label brands. Many Americans also are dining out more, which in several cases costs less than buying what you need from your local grocery store and making a dish at home. Of course, this is nothing new, but the real question is will purchasing behaviors pivot once again when we are knee-deep in the impending recession? Discount grocery stores are making out big time during this hard economic time, so will the likes of Kroger and Albertsons slash prices down to Walmart rates? It’s a case of adapt or die. —BW
Rumored rolls: Costco has long made its own baked goods in-house, but now: sushi? Well, according to a post on the Costco subreddit, Costco may be testing a sushi counter at its flagship warehouse in Issaquah, Wash., starting on June 9. While over the years, shoppers haven’t exactly favored Costco’s pre-made sushi (feedback including rice being way too tangy and the fish being mediocre), hopefully, going forward consumers will just roll with it. —Alarice Rajagopal
After spending decades competing against Walmart, Target now says it no longer will go head-to-head with the retailer. The Minneapolis-based company believes it is doing just fine with the shoppers it serves now and will focus on retaining that base. Is this a wise decision? Doesn’t the saying go, “keep your friends close, and your enemies closer”?
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