Nonfoods Talk: An eyewitness to success

At its largest stores, Stop & Shop offers a healthy assortment of GM/HBC categories; and the chain does so the right way.

There has been much talk over the last few years about grocery stores getting out of the SethNEW10-10nonfoods business. Some say it takes too much of a commitment to make it work. Others say that supermarkets are fighting a losing battle with mass merchandisers. I say go to Stop & Shop and see what this Northeast-based chain does at many of its superstores with nonfoods categories.

Unlike some other grocery operations, Stop & Shop scatters its general merchandise segments across the store, placing them in high-visibility areas that also make sense during the typical consumer’s shopping trip. Plus, Stop & Shop makes it clear that it is dedicated to the business.

Nonfoods is in the middle of a vicious battle between supermarkets, mass merchandisers and drug stores for market share. Unfortunately, the grocery store is losing the battle, not because of the competition, but because many chains have walked away from the necessary commitment to make GM/HBC work at supermarkets.

At its largest stores, at least, Stop & Shop has not walked away. In fact, the chain appears to be taking the right steps to get consumers to notice that it can be a convenient location to pick up the basic needs in many general merchandise segments and virtually all of their needs in the burgeoning HBC arena.

No one should expect Stop & Shop to become the prime target for consumers looking for hardware or stationery products, for example, but by making it clear that they can help shoppers with certain aspects of these categories, and others, the chain is positioning itself for better sales and profits from nonfoods.

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