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Is It Smart For Stores to Offer Less Variety?

Is It Smart For Stores to Offer Less Variety?

Scaling back is the road most taken during this weak economy. While we're reconsidering the way we spend our salaries, retailers are looking to downsize through the variety of brands stocked on their shelves.

According to The Wall Street Journal, supermarkets, drugstores and discount retailers are making the move "to cater to budget-conscious shoppers who want to simplify shopping trips and stick to familiar products." The makeovers includes reductions like Walgreen's cutting the types of superglues it carries to 11 from 25, and Wal-Mart halving the number of microwaveable popcorn brands.

All of this cutting back could be seen as a positive change for shoppers who feel overwhelmed and bombarded by too many choices. For others, it could mean settling for less than their favorite brands or having to shop elsewhere to find them.

Image Source: Getty
Join The Conversation
CoralAmber CoralAmber 8 years
The Walmart in my town changed too! They redesigned the store, moved entire sections, and took out a lot of stuff. If you want to buy something like thread, you now have to drive 1/2 an hour. I used to shop there way more often. Now I don't even go there for small stuff like pens. The only advantage it has is that it is still open 24 hours for those times when I need to pick up milk after work.
TidalWave TidalWave 8 years
Spectra: unfortunately, The closest Aldi's is not close enough for shopping there to be cost effective for me. I do know all about their theory of running a store at the bare minimum to keep costs low because I used to work for a division of theirs! I have eaten at least one of most things they sell and it's all just the same as anything else to me. I definitely agree that if your not a brand loyalist, that is the place to go.
Spectra Spectra 8 years
TidalWave--I'm curious; do you ever shop at Aldi? I shop there and there is only one "brand" of everything. One brand of yellow mustard, one brand of canned peas, one brand of frozen pizzas, etc. I get probably 70-80% of my groceries from there and it's absolutely fine. The more specialized stuff I get from the grocery store, but by offering less variety, Aldi's prices are extremely low. I mean, how many different brands of canned peas does anyone really need anyway?
mek123 mek123 8 years
Less choice, less competition, higher prices...not good for the consumer.
gigly_grl gigly_grl 8 years
This, and I guess an offshoot of this, is my current pet peeve :P The mall by my home, had a grocery store and a Walmart when I moved in 3 years ago... it was perfect. Then the grocery store cut back on their inventory to fit in a pharmacy taking away a lot of my usual products. And now Walmart has just finished their renovations to add a grocery store taking away a HUGE portion of their regular stock... the stupid stores are side by side. So, instead of stealing my business from each other they've lost mine to smaller specialty shops that I have to travel 30min or more to shop at :P
TidalWave TidalWave 8 years
Yes, your point still stands with the cinnamon chips. I suppose I just cope with it since it was never "taken away" from me. None of the stores in my area sell them. So I cope by driving 35 minutes to the closest Wegman's less than a handful of times a year and buying a whole slew of the bags of chips. Sure, it's not convenient but it works. This reminds me, my local Shop Rite used to sell these Desert Pepper (i think) Salsa's and they were amazing! Then they stopped selling them a few months ago and I although I was disappointed, I just moved on and found other salsas that are also good. I absolutely get your point lilkimbo, I'm just not a brand loyalist since I don't buy many packaged goods. I've already mentioned practically everything I buy on most shopping trips: baking items, pasta, tomatoes, eggs, bread, milk, chicken, cheese... for some I get what's on sale, for some I don't care about brand, for some I'd prefer a specific type but not brand (wheat pasta, wheat bread). If my store stopped selling Great Lakes cheese, like the salsa, i'd just find another brand. I understand how people can be picky though. Especially if you have children who are used to a specific brand.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 8 years
Also, your inclusion of the word "exact" would indicate that you get the same brands or the "items" you're buying.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 8 years
Well, you've already admitted that there's at least one "item" that is more specific than what you just mentioned (cinnamon chips) so my point still stands. Additionally, I've never met anyone who considers two different brands of the same thing to be the same item.
TidalWave TidalWave 8 years
I guess I'm assuming that a grocery store will never stop selling at least one type of cereal. That they would never stop selling marinara sauce, olive oil, canned tomatoes, pasta, chicken, eggs, milk and bread. I would always expect baking soda but might not be too surprised if they didn't have any baking chocolate. I would assume to find white flour but will survive if they don't sell wheat flour. Cutting microwave popcorn? I could care less as long as they still sell at least one brand of popcorn kernels.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 8 years
Additionally, a store could stop carrying your "item" even if you don't get a specific brand. Let's say you love pineapple salsa and you don't have a brand preference, but the store only carries one brand and they stop carrying it.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 8 years
Items and brands aren't mutually exclusive.
TidalWave TidalWave 8 years
That's why i said "items" not brands. I typically buy generic for most things anyway. Okay, if my grocery store stopped selling Great Lakes Cheese, I would be a little annoyed at having to spend a week or two finding another brand that I like, but I would eventually find another cheddar cheese that is tasty. Otherwise, I don't mind if there's only two brands of canned tomatoes instead of five, i always buy the cheapest anyway. Same with marinara sauce. And cereal. I honestly don't expect much from the Shop Rite or Stop N Shop that I go to. However, if Wegman's ever stopped selling cinnamon chips, I would be devastated.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 8 years
But TidalWave, what if cutting the variety meant that they cut the items you buy? I think it's smart business-wise, but I'd still be annoyed if I had to go to more than one place to find what I need.
TidalWave TidalWave 8 years
I buy the same exact items everytime I go shopping. I'd have no problem with them cutting the variety.
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