Dr. G in the News

As an industry expert Dr. George's insights and opinions are frequently sought...

“How to Avoid the Pitfalls of Success” Richard Turcsik, Grocery Headquarters, January 1, 2016 (Cover Story)

January 21 2016 No Commented
  • “Everybody has caught up to Walmart on price and now they are having competition from fast-fashion retailers like H&M, dollar stores and limited assortment stores, like Aldi.  Even Walmart management refers to them as ‘ankle biters.’”
  • “Lidl is going to be like Aldi on steroids.  I’ve seen the Lidl markets in Europe and they are terrific. They will be a foe.”
  • “Even Target is now doing a great job with organics. All these other little pieces that used to be the ownership of Whole Foods, other people have taken on now, without the Whole Foods pricing.”
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“The Clock Strikes Midnight – Haggens Horrible Year” Richard Turcsik, Grocery Headquarters, December 1, 2015 (Cover Story)

December 4 2015 No Commented
  • “Haggen didn’t understand the marketplace in terms of customers.  They are kind of premium price oriented and the Albertsons stores they bought were not. They did not understand the competitive array. They didn’t understand the whole issue of cash flow. They just didn’t have enough resources to carry them through to make the transition.”
  • “They were going from 16 stores to 160 stores—that’s a 10-fold increase. They didn’t have the necessary cash flow. I think it just caught up to them obviously much sooner than later. And now you have their demise. Everybody is suing them. People are out of work. It is a sad situation.”
  • “Haggen’s only hope is that they are suing Albertsons for $1 billion.  But that will be a long, drawn out litigation and the only ones who will get rich off of it will be the lawyers.”
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“Retailers Failing When Using Social Media To Answer Complaints” Tom Ryan, Forbes.com, November 16, 2015

December 4 2015 No Commented
  • “With proper funding, staffing and training all of the issues noted herein can, and more than likely will, be addressed by organizations investing in social media as a two-way dialog with customers.”
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“Amazon, The Bookstore Killer, Opens One” George Anderson, Forbes.com, November 4, 2015

November 8 2015 No Commented
  • “I see an analogy between Amazon Books and Apple Stores.”
  • “It will be a showcase store and potential draw for new and existing Amazon customers.”
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“Wawa Opens New Store with New Credit Card Being Offered” Brian McCullough, Daily Local News, October 9, 2015.

October 15 2015 No Commented
  • Richard J. George, a professor in the food marketing school at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, said the cards are yet another way for Wawa to stay close to its customers.
  • “I’m driving down the road, I can stop at a lot of places,” George said. “That (card with discounted prices) might be differentiator for me.”
  • Such cards give retailers yet another chance to connect with their customers, he added. Wawa has been successful with its marketing efforts, such as when it started offering ATMs with no surcharges.
  • “Something like 80 percent of the people who got cash spent money in the store. It’s all about how do I solve their problems for them,” George said of Wawa’s approach. The cards also give the company information that will allow them to direct customized coupons to their customers.
  • “From a marketing point of view, it ties them to their customers,” George said.
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“Industry Experts Predict The Future Of Retail” http://retail-vision.co.uk/, September 2015

September 5 2015 No Commented
  • I recently completed a national research study of American Millennials (18-34 years of age). I discovered some very profound differences in their food retail shopping behaviors from their older counterparts. Only 56% of all Millennials shopped for groceries in a regular full-service supermarket during the preceding 30 days. This number is a sharp contrast to data published by the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) which reports 89% of all households shopped for groceries in a regular full-service supermarket the past 30 days. In addition, one quarter (25%) of Millennials in my research indicated that they purchased groceries via online/Internet/mobile during the preceding 30 days. This is in sharp contrast to the FMI data which indicated only 8% purchased groceries online during the previous 30 days. Similarly, more Millennials shopped at Supercenters, Dollar, Drug, and C-stores than the rest of the population.
  • The conclusions and implications of these findings are as follows: Food shopping behaviors of this now largest U.S. generation are significantly different than the rest of the population. There is clearly less shopping at traditional food retailers. The future of the traditional food retailer in jeopardy, unless significant changes are made. In addition, manufacturers’ go-to-market strategies need to change to reflect the changing shopping behavior of Millennials. Food marketers who assume that the Millennials will start to behave like current older Americans, just because they age, do so at their peril.
  • My predictions for the future of food retailing are as follows: First, Omni channel which is about customers, not channels, will become a reality. Second, the days of the Center of Store (COS) as currently configured will be significantly diminished. Many of the COS products will be purchased online from the “bricks-and-mortar” retailer and delivered to the store for direct placement into a consumer’s vehicle. This will then free up consumers to shop enhanced and exciting perishable (now perimeter) departments, then proceed to a designated area and have their online purchases placed into their vehicles. Food retailers who design their stores with this in mind will be able to satisfy the multi-level needs for speed, convenience, service, customization, and a sensory-focused food shopping environment.
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“Hornbacher’s Move into GF Market Could Mean Stiff Competition” John Hageman, FNS, July 2015

July 15 2015 No Commented
  • “How successful Hornbacher’s will be here may partly depend on how well it can differentiate itself from competitors. Pricing and the quality of the fresh items like bread and meat are areas where supermarkets can make their mark.”
  • “Center store is hard to differentiate because everybody’s center store looks the same, the key is these perimeter departments, to develop a footprint and give people a reason to drive past one chain and visit your store.”
  • “While Hornbacher’s is replacing an existing store rather than adding another one to the market, said it could still mean additional competition if Hornbacher’s ends up being more successful than Super One.  And should that happen, consumers will benefit.”
  • “Competition makes everybody sharper.”
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“Harris Teeter, Wegmans to compete for county shoppers’ loyalty” Cindy Huang, Capital Gazette, June 7, 2015.

June 16 2015 No Commented
  • “Shoppers choose supermarkets based on factors ranging from location to price and quality to the shopping experience and specialty products.  But grocery stores no longer want to be places where people pick out their favorite brands. They’re brands themselves.”
  • “Wegmans recognizes shopping can be theater.  And the longer the store keeps its customer captivated, the more they buy.”
  • “…some supermarkets compete on price, and others compete on the shopping experience.  Ask people, I ‘blank’ to go food shopping, most people would say ‘I hate it, it’s a task.’  But supermarkets are changing the way people feel about shopping.”
  • “Stores have to find a way to differentiate themselves because they offer similar products.”


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“McDonald’s Stay Ahead of the Competition by Adapting with the Times” Jonathan deBurca Butler, Irish Examiner, May 8, 2015.

May 10 2015 No Commented
  • “It’s not a crisis yet.  It is a serious wake up call however. Swift, decisive action is needed sooner rather than later. Other competitors are taking meaningful market share. The rise of better burger options, such as Five Guys, and the growth of innovative fast casual options, like Chipotle with its emphasis on fresh, makes for a challenge to McDonald’s as well as the other traditional fast food operators.”
  • “I do think Steve Easterbrook deserves more time.  It appears that his initial focus, reorganization and selling 3,500 units to franchises, will save millions of dollars. But I think McDonald’s needs to simplify its menu — the first McD’s had three choices. They also need to address a change in consumer behaviour which now sees many people having five smaller meals in place of the three traditional day-parts. The McDonald’s 75-year legacy of innovation and reinvention needs to move front-and-centre if real growth in sales and profits are to return.”
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“America’s Best, Freshest Supermarkets” Consumer Reports, Cover Story, May 2015.

April 10 2015 No Commented
  • “There has been a tremendous evolution in the term ‘fresh’ as it applies to supermarkets.”
  • “For years, supermarket-industry insiders have lamented the decline of the “center store,” a euphemism for the middle aisles stocked with bagged, boxed, and heavily advertised products.”
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