COLORADO SPRINGS — Retailer SKU reduction programs need to maintain a focus on the consumer to be successful, Ed Crenshaw, chief executive officer of Publix Super Markets, said during a panel discussion here Monday.
“We think of this as assortment correction, and the important thing is to understand the customer,” he said in responding to a question during an educational session at the Grocery Manufacturers Association Executive Conference here. “Not every Publix store is exactly alike. South Florida is different than Nashville, Tenn.”
In reducing assortments, Publix doesn’t show favoritism to store labels over manufacturer brands, Crenshaw said. “Our category managers are just as quick to discontinue the store brand as a national brand.” He added that the chain takes into account potentially negative customer reaction in making decisions on elimination of SKUs.
“A store manager recently told me that the No. 1 complaint from customers isn’t high prices or lack of front-end service, it’s discontinued items. We know we’ll upset customers when we discontinue, so we don’t do this lightly. We put a lot of thought into assortment correction.”
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