Chloe 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, Ill.
Sales expectations for 2023 aren’t quite as high as they were for 2022, but most retailers say they expect both dollar sales and unit volumes to increase in center store categories, according to our 2023 Center Store Trends Survey — where we ask retailers about their forward-looking thoughts on all things center store.
Among the findings? Increased concerns about dollar stores — and the competition they bring via an increased play for grocery — in addition to concerns about a reversal in the online sales growth trajectories of center store vs. fresh categories.
Inflation continues to factor into the forecast, although its impact on driving sales gains may be waning. Though some survey respondents say they expect center store dollar sales to increase (by about 3.5% in 2023), a significant percentage of respondents say they expect dollar sales to decline in 2023 vs. 2022.
One participant said center store sales at his supermarket have been up about 10% to 15% on average, about half of which has been driven by inflation.
“Customers have definitely changed the way they shop,” that person said. “If a family has $200 to spend each week, they can’t spend $250.”
Indeed, I know I feel that myself. I’ve noticed my own grocery habits have shifted — from exclusively online shopping to now heading out in the world to hit up two different local grocery stores. It’s interesting to observe my own habits changing…and certainly we’re seeing that on the consumer end. Will the intense inflation we’ve been feeling fully lift soon? Only time will tell…