Buying Spree: Gimme A Steak, Those Shoes, That TV

Consumers want convenience when buying groceries, say researchers Joe Aversa, left, and Chris Daniel.

Want to pick up some steak for dinner, along with a cute pair of shoes and a new flat-screen TV?

Growing consumer demand for convenience is a driving force behind changes in grocery retailing during the past decade, according to a new report by researchers at the Ryerson University Centre for the Study of Commercial Activity in Toronto, Canada.

For proof of their conclusions, greater Pottstown PA residents might look no further than the Gateway At Sanatoga shopping center, now being erected at the Sanatoga interchange of U.S. Route 422.

Due to open later this fall (2011), Gateway’s anchor tenant will be a Costco Warehouse whose retailing philosophy figures prominently in the Ryerson study.

“People want to have the option of buying groceries in the same places where they are purchasing clothing or electronics,” said Christopher Daniel, lead author of the report titled “Emerging Trends in Grocery Retailing.” More non-grocery retailers are selling convenience food products in their stores, he says.

The report found the industry is breaking into four main types of grocery retailers:

  • “Pure play” grocery stores (supermarkets that only offer groceries);
  • General merchandise stores and warehouse clubs, like Costco, with food products;
  • Grocery stores with added general merchandise; and
  • Other retailers that offer groceries.

In the future the researchers foresee an increase in mixed-use locations like Gateway, although it is not specifically identified, where grocery sales will be combined with condos, office buildings, and even other retailers in multi-level developments.

The report examines key trends in the grocery industry over the past 20 years, the major players and the size of the market. It was co-authored by Joe Aversa, a Ryerson analyst, and centre director Tony Hernandez.

Related (to the Gateway At Sanatoga project):

Photo from Ryerson University