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Wegmans conducts survey on consumer baby-care shopping habits

BY Drew Buono

ROCHESTER, N.Y. Wegmans Food Markets is conducting a survey through its newsletter to find out among other objectives, how it measures up against mass merchants and wholesale clubs when it comes to baby’s needs.

Earlier this week, the chain sent an invitation to its email newsletter subscribers urging them to take an online survey of their baby care preferences and shopping habits. The survey is aimed at those customers who have purchased baby products at its stores within the last two months.

The chains is asking its customers to gauge the importance of such factors as the amount of in-store space dedicated to baby items, variety, the availability of store brands and club packaging, adequate inventory, price; and such non-category factors as time spent at checkout, a child-friendly environment, and assistance in carrying groceries to the car. The survey is also looking for shopping behavior with regard to baby care categories at its rivals including warehouse clubs, mass merchants, and supercenters.

Wegmans also is asking survey respondents whether it has been able to live up to their shopping expectations; and how it could improve the shopping experience in regard to baby care items.

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Nielsen predicts sharp spike in beer purchases for Memorial Day holiday

BY Jenna Duncan

SCHAUMBURG, Ill. The Nielsen Company predicts that consumers will spend around $381 million on beer (more than 21 million cases) at supermarkets during the Memorial Day holiday. This period is the second most popular season of beer sales in the U.S., following July 4.

The two weeks surrounding Memorial Day account for around 5 percent of annual beer sales, based on volume. In 2007, the season garnered sales of $380.8 million, or 21,534,727 cases, at supermarkets nationwide.

Nearly 35 percent of annual beer sales happen during the summer. Around half of summer beer sales are premium brands, Nielsen said.

“Summer is a hot time for beer retailers,” The Nielsen Company’s vice president of client service, beverage alcohol, Nick Lake said. “Beer is popular with consumers during the Memorial Day holiday and summer as it is generally more portable than wine or spirits, making it easier to take to outdoor parties, picnics and barbeques. Beer retailers can take advantage of this opportunity by understanding what types of beer their consumers are looking for and promoting a well-stocked selection of beer in their stores.”

According to Nielsen, Millennial consumers, buyers in the 21­30 age range, prefer to buy beer over other types of alcohol. Millennials also are more likely than older generations to try different flavors and types of beer, and are more likely to buy imports and craft beers.

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Del Monte names Pearce its first CMO

BY Jenna Duncan

NEW YORK Del Monte Foods today announced that William Pearce will chair the newly created positions of company chief marketing officer and senior vice president.

“We’ve created the position of [chief marketing officer] to further elevate our focus on marketing strategy, innovation, and execution across our portfolio,” Del Monte chairman and chief executive officer, Rick Wolford, said in a news release. “This centralized organizational structure located in San Francisco will continue to build on our marketing success, enhancing marketing’s role in lead our future strategy.”

Wolford added that he “looks forward to leveraging [Pearce’s] proven track record of attracting top talent.”

Pearce joins Del Monte after serving as chief marketing officer at Taco Bell. Del Monte is currently working towards centralized marketing operations at the San Francisco headquarters, and also integrating pet and consumer marketing teams.

In addition to heading marketing operations, Pearce will also be responsible for covering pet and consumer campaigns, and package design and promotions.

Del Monte has not said whether it will up its marketing spending this year or not. But, in 2007, Del Monte’s advertising budget was around $18 million.

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