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New year, new you?

Labor and inflation are still causing pain, according to our Retailer Survey. But there are bright spots

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, Illinois. 

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Labor issues and inflation remain top of mind for grocery retailers heading into 2023, according to Supermarket News’ third annual Retailer Expectations Survey.

More than half of retailer and wholesaler respondents — 56% — said they were “not very confident” or “not confident at all” heading into the new year, compared with 44% who felt pessimistic about the economy in last year’s survey.

This is the third straight year that retailer/wholesaler confidence in the economy has declined. Yeah. It’s hard just reading that.

But let’s take a collective deep breath. There are some bright spots:

  • A considerable number of you (73%) forecasted a sales increase for the first half of 2023
  • Also unsurprisingly with the state of inflation, private label is where you see growth. Increasing private label leap-frogged to the No. 1 tactic retailers and wholesalers planned to deploy to grow sales, cited by 47% of retailers and wholesalers
  • Retailers and wholesalers are the most bullish on fresh produce offerings in 2023, with 63% citing it as the category they expect to have the most success with

Here’s what else you had to say about driving sales in 2023:

  • “2023 will be focused on bringing more value offerings to our customer base.”
  • “Continued focus on fresh, organic and natural offerings.”
  • “Expand deli/bakery departments.”
  • “Expand meat and produce offerings to include more organic.”
  • “We will be using more buy-one, get-one-free opportunities and will look to expand our basics program, where we keep staples at a lower margin than other groceries.”
  • “Social media, new website presence.”
  • “We need to strengthen fresh and create better excitement in the stores with center [store] displays to bring customers back.”

“Excitement in the stores.” Yes please. Our survey does indicate apprehension going into 2023, but it also indicates a tough industry that knows how to persevere and has certainly led by example these past three years. Let’s keep going. Look out 2023: Grocery is coming for you. 

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