retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Columbus Dispatch reports on how the Kroger in Brewers Yard, Ohio, is offering free live music and a sociable setting as a way of attracting shoppers on Friday nights, turning mundane grocery shopping into a night on the town.

It is part of a broadening trend, the story suggests: “Grocery stores have always tried to offer good deals on food to create customer loyalty, but an increasingly competitive landscape has caused many grocery retailers to try to outdo one another by offering valuable shopping ‘experiences’.

“That's led some chains to turn their stores into community gathering places.

“These days, it's not unusual to find grocery stores that offer comfy chairs spread out in front of flat-screen TVs airing cable news and football games; free Wi-Fi hot spots and specialty coffees; gourmet in-store restaurants and cooking classes; wine-tasting events; and even live bands.

“The goal, it seems, is to see which store can offer the best and most non-grocery amenities.”

For Kroger, the Dispatch writes, “that's translated into the Brewers Yard store's Tap Room, which serves specialty beers and wines and draws about 80 people to the Fridays at Five event each week ... Other area grocers have also gotten into the "experience" business.

“Giant Eagle offers cooking classes and demonstrations by celebrity chefs at its Market District store in Upper Arlington, plus wine-tasting events, celebrity-themed beauty makeovers and a restaurant with nine stations featuring a wide variety of foods made by 30 in-house chefs.”
KC's View:
I may have the opportunity to be in Ohio in a few weeks, and I’m going to do my best to check out both the Kroger and the Giant Eagle. They sound very cool.