retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Los Angeles Times reports that Dunkin' Donuts is returning to Southern California "with plans to open 150 stores starting in two years — and eventually as many as 1,000 statewide." Dunkin' Donuts pulled out of California in the late 1990s.

According to the story, "Starting in 2015, franchisees in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, San Bernardino, Ventura and Orange counties are expected to have about 150 stores open, the company said. It also is looking to eventually expand along the border with Nevada, according to its website."
KC's View:
I love this story, because it made me start humming the old Randy Newman song with that great lyric...

Rollin' down the Imperial Highway
With a big nasty redhead at my side
Santa Ana winds blowin' hot from the north
And we was born to ride...


That said, here is the paragraph from the Times story that interested me...

The brand is no stranger on the West Coast. Dunkin' Donuts packaged coffee is sold in grocery stores across California, and its commercials are on TV stations statewide. Dunkin' Brands owns 455 Baskin-Robbins ice cream shops in the state and began selling K-cup packs of its coffee there last fall.

If I recall correctly, Dunkin' Donuts has been planning this incursion for some time, and it began selling its packaged coffee there a few years ago as a way of reacquainting consumers with the brand - in essence, using supermarkets as a stalking horse before it started opening stores that would ... wait for it ... compete with supermarkets for share of stomach.

I keep thinking that supermarkets have to play hardball in these cases. Too many of them still see themselves as repositories for other brands, and ignore the fact that this can lead to the erosion of their own brands. I know there are limits to how far supermarkets should go, but I think that maybe brand protection and brand erosion ought to be more central to strategic discussions.