retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that “discount grocery stores are moving into the American shopping mainstream,” with chains like Aldi and Save-A-Lot demonstrating a lot of appeal to even traditionally affluent consumers who suddenly are finding their lifestyles affected by high fuel prices.

Both Aldi and Save-A-Lot are in the middle of major expansions, and experts tell the paper that the latter is the “brightest spot” for Supervalu, which owns and franchises the limited assortment discount format.

The real question, the Post Dispatch writes, is what Lexus-driving consumers do if/when the economy improves.

“Some may go back to their spendthrift ways, food analysts say, but many will stay with the discounters if they have good experiences there,” the paper writes.

“Discounters ‘won't retain all of their customers who have traded down during the recession, but we think there will be a certain amount of stickiness,’ said Craig Johnson, president of consulting firm Customer Growth Partners.”
KC's View:
Since companies like Aldi and Save-A-Lot are in many ways anti-brand, it will be interesting to see if consumers’ allegiance to them - especially if it continues beyond the economic downturn - translates into broader non-brand-driven behavior. It is something that brands need to think about.