Merchandising Features / Trend Features

A Big Impact

October 4, 2012
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Giant Food At A Glance

Company Name: 

  •     Giant Food LLC


  •     Landover, Md.


  •     1936


  •     173


  • Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia


  •     Ahold USA


“Giant Landover continues to grow sales and market share and focus on strengthening its own-brand offerings,” the company reports, adding that it also “is placing a strong focus on its fresh assortment and successful customer loyalty programs.”

That fresh assortment includes flavorful and convenience-oriented proteins in the meat and deli departments.

The full-service meat case in the Springfield store, for instance, recently was merchandising three types of kabobs—Chicken, Pork and Beef—as well as New York Strip Steak in a Bourbon Marinade.

Also in the case were several types of fresh Italian sausage, including Garlic & Cheese Chicken, Hot Chicken, Garlic & Cheese Pork, and Hot Pork.

Among the items in the full-service deli case were Meatballs Burgundy, Grilled Chicken Breast, Chicken Cordon Bleu, Beef Provencal, Roasted Red Bliss Potatoes and two-dozen varieties of salads.

Industry analysts say Giant’s focus on price, quality and store brands is a prudent strategy in the current economic climate.

“Ahold developed an everyday low price-type approach for perishables and they seem to be getting payback from it,” says W. Frank Dell III, president and chief executive officer of Dellmart & Co. Inc., a Stamford, Conn.-based retail consultancy. “But a lower-price image also can lead some consumers to question whether they also are getting a lower-quality product. As a result, Ahold has to promote the idea that quality is present as well.”

While he says it is uncertain how long a major focus on price can be successful, Dell notes that many shoppers have a “depression mindset” and are looking to minimize their food spending.

“Ahold is on track because a large number of consumers are in a conservation mode,” he states. “It corresponds with the phenomenal growth of private label where today there is a broader array of products with increased quality and better packaging. Prices are often 10-percent less than the national brands. The consumer will gravitate to store brands as long as the quality is there.”

Richard George, professor of food marketing at   St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, agrees that Giant is “doing a nice job” in leveraging store brands, but notes that the chain still is in the unenviable position of being “caught in the middle.”

Giant, he says, operates in the space between the “cool-end” stores that are recognized for their high-quality prepared selections, such as Wegmans and Whole Foods, and the savings-oriented retailers, including Walmart and Save-A-Lot.

“The stores in the middle will struggle,” George states. “Their primary positioning is that they are one-stop shopping. But they will always face the challenge of providing a point of differentiation, to be able stay in the middle and still stand out.”

He suggests that Giant will benefit by merchandising perishables that could become signature products, such as a private-label pizza with artisan crafting or exotic fruit.

“The goal is to get shoppers to visit the stores because the chain is innovative or creative, or might even carry locally produced items,” George says. “Chains can operate with a traditional approach, which Giant is doing, or they can focus more on their perishables.” 

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