COLUMBUS, Ohio — Consumers are ready and willing to shop at small-store food formats that emphasize convenience and fresh, prepared foods, according to a new study by TNS Retail Forward here. “However, the jury is still out on whether small-format food stores will meet shopper expectations and return-on-investment objectives going forward,” Jennifer Halterman, senior consultant and author of the report, said. “Food retailers considering a small-store strategy must monitor and analyze shopper needs, attitudes and expectations well in advance of launch. They should also seek input from CPG manufacturer partners and pay close attention to local area demographics and cultural differences.” According to the report, 64% of shoppers surveyed said they would definitely or probably shop a small-format store. “The combination of small size and a fresh, prepared-food emphasis is a compelling offer for the time-pressed shopper,” Halterman said. “The small-store trend is part of an ongoing evolution in the retail food sector, and we expect more players to throw their hats into the ring,” she added, noting that Tesco has already established a U.S. presence with its small-format Fresh & Easy sites and that Wal-Mart Stores and Safeway have indicated they plan to open similar concepts of their own.
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