Supervalu (Minneapolis) plans to reduce the number of items it offers per store, possibly by as much as 25 percent in some cases, in an effort to put greater focus on store-branded items and extract lower prices from vendors, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Supervalu ceo Craig Herkert told analysts in a conference call this week that the item reduction will focus mainly on eliminating redundant package sizes. For example, he says, bathroom tissue has so many package sizes that full cases of product couldn't be stocked on shelves. "I don't think the consumer is going to look at it and say we've taken any choice away; in fact, I think … the consumer will look at better choice," says Herkert.
During more robust economic times, many grocers added new products and lines in an effort to provide broader selections to lure shoppers away from supercenters, club stores or pharmacies. Today, however, the majority of shoppers have tightened their food budgets, pushing many supermarket chains to remove some products and clear shelf space for their own lower-priced, store-branded items.
For the third quarter ended December 5, Supervalu, which operates Jewel, Albertson's, Save-A-Lot and Cub Foods stores, reported its same-store sales dropped 6.5 percent. Revenue was down 9.5 percent to $9.2 billion.