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Retailers read the tea leaves in 2024.png Getty Images

Retailers read the tea leaves in 2024

Uncertainty still dominates, but that isn’t stopping anyone

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.

We just published the first-ever double issue of Supermarket News — packed chock-full of great retail and grocery insights. In our fourth annual Retailer Survey, food retailers and wholesalers talk about having a slightly more positive outlook for the year ahead vs. previous years.

Just over half — 52% — of our retailer and wholesaler respondents said they were at least “fairly confident” in the strength of the economy, including 8% who said they were “extremely confident.” That marks the first year-to-year outlook improvement in the four-year history of the survey.

One retailer detailed specific steps they planned around improving customers’ in-store experience in the year ahead, including:

  • “Comparative price reviews available to customers at least quarterly and posted in stores”
  • “Upgrading customer service by training and retraining staff to be more attentive and watchful when customers need or look like they need help”
  • “Absolutely no cell phone use when staff on duty”
  • “Smile and make every customer welcome” 

That last one may be the most important step of all. For instance, the winners of our 2024 SN Independent Superstars know just how important good customer service is to winning against the big guys. The SN Independent Superstars highlights retailers and other individuals doing great things at the independent level. 

Take Jimmy Wright, the owner of Wright’s Market in Opelika, Ala. Wright set out to combat rising prices by implementing a series of merchandising initiatives that, when combined with a smart promotions strategy, helped make 2023 the best year ever for the store’s sales and profitability.

Or Omar Jorge, the second-generation grocer whose family operated multiple stores in New York City before expanding into North Carolina in 2004. Jorge, the owner, chairman, president, and CEO of Charlotte, N.C.-based Compare Foods, has steered Compare Foods to expand its community reach, including offering health screenings, upping its hunger relief efforts, and causing Compare to be the No. 2 destination for vaccines in the Charlotte market. Despite the retailer not having any in-store pharmacies. 

And there are more to boot. Click here to meet all of this year’s Superstars.

It’s 2024, a new year. Anything can happen. Retailers, let’s rise to the challenge.

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