Retailers Change with Customer Behavior

by Mark Friedman  on Monday, Aug. 1, 2011 12:00 am  

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. of Bentonville has been working with manufacturers since last year to introduce smaller unit sizes of products.

“It is selling single-servings of items, of say toilet paper, so [customers] don’t have to buy an entire bundle,” said company’s spokesman Greg Rossiter.

Wal-Mart made the move because it noticed its customers running out of money toward the end of the month.

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By selling the smaller unit items, customers can buy only enough and spend as little as possible until they get their paycheck on the first of the month, Rossiter said.

Roger Collins, the CEO of Harps Food Stores Inc. of Springdale, said he’s noticed that customers are using more coupons and buying more private-label items.

Harps, which has 66 grocery stores in Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma, said the company has tried to respond to the new customers by running more price specials and occasionally offers 20 percent off meats.

The moves are paying off for Harps. For the fiscal year that ended in August, sales were up 4 percent from the $500 million it had for its fiscal year that ended in 2009. Collins also said Harps is on track to have a 7 percent increase in sales for its current fiscal year.



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