Retailers need to watch worldwide grocery trends

10/18/2011 04:28:00 PM
Chris Koger

ATLANTA — Worldwide retail trends often find their way to U.S.-based stores.

Retailers from Hong Kong, Australia, South Africa and Brazil talked about developments in their markets and what it means for retailers in the U.S. in the Oct. 14 workshop, “Sourcing Trends and Innovation: Retailer Revelations,” at Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit 2011.

Greg JohnsonShane Bourk (from left), head of fresh food for The Wellcome Co. Ltd., Hong Kong, Jim Donald, a consultant and former chief executive officer of Starbucks, and Bruce Peterson, president of Peterson Insights and former produce executive at Wal-Mart, discuss global retail trends and how they affect U.S. retailers.Moderator Bruce Peterson, president of Peterson Insights and former produce executive at Wal-Mart, summed up the session saying, “There are a lot of trends going on in the world, that if they’re not here yet in the States, they absolutely will be.”

Shane Bourk, head of fresh food for The Wellcome Co. Ltd., Hong Kong, said the small country has such high-rent prices, retailers there do much more top-to-bottom displays in stores to maximize square footage.

Greg Davis, general manager of fresh produce for Coles Supermarkets, Victoria, Australia, said his company is working more closely with suppliers and sharing responsibility for product. He said 90% of the produce consumed in Australia is home-grown, so retailers can have a bigger influence on quality.

“We want to work with suppliers in development and make (the products) exclusive at our stores,” Davis said.

Peter Gohl, fresh foods executive for SPAR National Fresh Marketing Boskburg, South Africa, agreed working closely with suppliers is a wise business strategy.

“We think that if our suppliers are successful, they’re going to reinvest in their product and become even better suppliers,” he said.

Jim Donald, a consultant who used to be an executive with retailers Pathmark and Haggan’s, as well as chief executive officer of Starbucks, said U.S. retailers need to travel the world and get out of their comfort zones.

“Risk-taking breeds success,” he said. “Success breeds risk aversion, and risk aversion breeds stagnation.”



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