retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Houston Chronicle reports that the recession is having an impact on people’s meat eating habits, with a lot of customers switching from pricier cuts to ground beef that they can use for basic dishes such as hamburgers or tacos.

However, this cuts two ways.

“Sales of the cheapest ground beef are up, but so are sales of H-E-B’s highest-quality prime beef, said Scott McClelland, president, H-E-B Houston, adding that he is hearing that prime beef buyers are cooking more at home rather than dining out.

“The change is evident even in higher-income areas, where hot dog sales at the company’s stores were up 33 percent between November to January, compared with the same period a year earlier, he said.”

And the same sort of shift is being seen at Kroger stores, the Chronicle writes.

KC's View:
Even while offering less expensive options to people who are being more price-conscious than they used to be, it is critical for stores to be able to establish the value/values equation for the occasional indulgence that still remains more affordable than, say, going out to dinner.

Even in tough economic times, it is important to remember that the aspirational customers of just a year ago haven't lost their aspirations. They’re just looking for new and creative ways to fulfill them.

The smart store offers them these options and ideas.