U.S. supermarket consumers increasingly patronizing retailers known for something, such as customer service, products, value, says analyst; growth in supermarket industry may decrease year-over-year in 2012 due to slowing rate of inflation

LOS ANGELES , April 2, 2012 () – According to supermarket analyst David Livingston, U.S. supermarket consumers  are increasingly shopping at retail brands that are known for something such as customer service, products or value, SunSentinel.com reported March 30.

As people’s grocery options increase, traditional grocers seem dull, Livingston added.

While stores such as Whole Foods Market and Trader Joe’s appeal to customers who are looking for healthy, organic options, discounters like Aldi and Save-a-lot, which appeal to budget-conscious consumers, are also doing well.

Supermarket News Retail Financial Editor Mark Hamstra said that Whole Foods has experienced strong sales from middle-to-high income shoppers.

The Shelby Report and Sunbelt Foodservice Magazine Editor Lorrie Griffith said that the number of budget-conscious shoppers has increased the appeal of discounters such as Aldi and Save-a-lot.

Atlanta Retail Consulting consultant Pat Fitzpatrick said that Publix Super Markets Inc. has found success by targeting value-conscious consumers, and “showing […them] how they can stretch their dollars as far as possible."

Hamstra said that the supermarket industry’s overall growth in 2011 was largely driven by inflation. He predicted that growth in the supermarket industry might potentially slow in 2012 as the rate of inflation decreases.

As the economy improves, customers may splurge on extra items such as wine or more expensive cuts of meat, Hamstra added, although they might potentially start dinning out more often, which frequently takes a toll on supermarket sales.

The primary source of this article is SunSentinel.com, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, on March 30, 2012.

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