Wal-Mart needs to execute better and make more appealing products available to curb sagging sales, according to retail analysts. The discount giant is rolling out trendier merchandise, but says it also will continue to serve its core budget-conscious customers.
The retailer said it was leaving the Jacksonville, Fla., market and selling seven stores to Rowe's Enterprises, a new grocery retail company established by Rob Rowe, a former Winn-Dixie Stores executive who also has worked for Albertsons. "This is a strategic decision in line with our company's commitment to invest resources only in markets where we can perform as a market leader," said Carl Jablonski, president of Alberstons' eastern division.
Tate & Lyle, manufacturers of the hit sweetener-substitute leader Splenda,
will see its patents expire beginning next year and likely face
competition from generics. Already Chinese companies are manufacturing the base ingredient, sucralose, and pose the greatest competitive threat, but T&L CEO Iain Ferguson says their scale of operations gives them an eight- to ten-year advantage. Recent gains for the London-based company were ingredient deals in Dannon Light 'n Fit yogurts and Pillsbury chocolate-chip cookie dough, plus a deal to
supply Splenda packets to McDonald's restaurants.
Researchers using RFID-enabled carts have discovered 14 distinct travel paths shoppers take in grocery stores, challenging some assumptions that have long dominated retail thinking about customer behavior. One conclusion finds shoppers often take short trips in and out of aisles rather than maneuvering from one end to the other completely.
Publix Sabor supermarkets will employ more bilingual workers, carry a larger collection of Hispanic and Caribbean products and feature Spanish-language music, but a spokeswoman for Publix Super Markets told the The Ledger other details about the new concept are still being worked out. Publix plans to open two Sabor stores, in Central and South Florida, in May.