More than 130 grocery retailers (including brick-and-mortar, online and omnichannel) shared their thoughts and plans for 2022 in Supermarket News’ second annual Retailer Expectations Survey, covering such topics as the economy, sales projections, store count and hiring, and, of course, the continuing impact of COVID-19 as we near the two-year mark since the pandemic first struck the United States. Of those retailers surveyed, 41% operate 1-10 stores, while 38% represent chains of more than 100 store. Another 18% range in the middle of 11-100 stores.
Among the highlights of our findings:
• 56% of retailers saying they are “extremely” or “fairly” confident in the economy. While more than half of respondents this year are positive, it reflects a drop from last year’s result when 65% of retailers were confident coming into the new year.
• Hiring will continue to be a growth area for grocery retailers in 2022, with 75% of respondents saying they plan to hire more workers — up significantly from 56% in last year’s survey.
• In 2022 retailers plan to step up their in-store activities such as expanding fresh offerings (56%), improving supply chain efficiencies (54%) and increasing in-store promotions (46%).
• Many retailers are renewing their focus on foodservice, with 48% of respondents planning to increase their prepared foods offering in 2022 and 45% planning to alter or change their prepared foods offering (i.e., more grab-and-go, prepackaged, etc.).
• When asked, “What categories do you expect to have the most success with in 2022?,” 60% of respondents cited fresh produce, followed by foodservice at 56%, fresh meat (40%), frozen foods (35%) and center store grocery (32%).
• Overall, supply chain issues were seen as the biggest challenge facing retailers in 2022 at 40%, with labor following closely at 38%.
Click on the gallery for complete survey results.