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Acosta Sales & Marketing is out with its latest "The Why? Behind the Buy" report, saying that 54% of total U.S. shoppers say they enjoy grocery shopping, up from 41% in 2011. The report says that "shoppers are driven by the thrill of the hunt: 40% like finding new products to try, 38% like looking for the best deals or sale items and 25% like browsing the aisle for products."

The study goes on to say that "shoppers report spending an average of $318.70 per month on groceries--the highest figure since Acosta began the survey in 2009--compared to $288.70 a year ago." The company says that while "monthly grocery spending has increased, likely due to inflation … sales volume remains sluggish."

And, the report shows what it calls "marked increases in shopper enjoyment within specific ethnic and age groups, with 72% of Asian-Americans, 67% of African-Americans, 66% of Hispanics and 64% of Millennials reporting they like to grocery shop."

Meanwhile, Business Insider reports on a recent report by real estate investment firm JLL saying that while "high-end grocers like Whole Foods and cheap retailers like Family Dollar will expand in the coming years, traditional grocery stores like Kroger, Giant Eagle, and Publix could close stores … Since the 2008 recession, consumers have been reluctant to pay full price for items. This led to dollar stores expanding their food assortments to include brand names. Meanwhile, those who do want to pay more want the organic, artisanal assortments grocers like Whole Foods have to offer."
KC's View:
I actually sort of hate it when I see stories about how more people like grocery shopping than ever, because I think they a) are misguided, and b) give a lot of mediocre retailers false reassurances.

Here's what I think. The reason that high end and value retailers are doing better is because they actually stand for something - they are specific, they know their customers, and they deliver on their value proposition, whatever it happens to be. But the muddy middle is getting both deeper and muddier, and you just cannot survive there anymore.

But does anyone really like shopping at Family Dollar?

I also think that if you are going to talk about mainstream retailers that are going to have problems, three retailers I might avoid talking about would be Kroger, Giant Eagle and Publix … all of which have done a pretty good job differentiating their formats and raising the levels of their games.