The retail landscape in the Tri-State region remains competitive.
As new retailers attempt to enter the large marketplace, distributors that send product to the stores and their distribution centers say sales remain brisk as chains compete against each other for shoppers’ dollars.
“There’s a tremendous amount of competition here,” said Bruce Klein, director of marketing for Maurice A. Auerbach Inc., Secaucus, N.J. “You go to into all the retailers’ offices, and you will see how they have all their competitors’ ads on their bulletin boards.
“Everyone sees what the others do. They look at last year, what items were on sale during that time period, what’s available now, and they try to do the best they can with the information they have.”
Klein said the key to success is providing retail customers high quality product at the right prices.
Auerbach distributes garlic, asparagus, ginger, shallots, baby potatoes and onions to large, medium, small and independent retail chains throughout the Northeast.
A number of chains have recently made big expansions into the New York marketplace, including Salisbury, N.C.-based Food Lion LLC (a part of the Brussels-based Delhaize Group) and Rochester, N.Y.-based Wegmans Food Markets Inc., said Mike Muzyk, president of Baldor Specialty Foods Inc., New York.
“Retail is really competitive,” Muzyk said. “If I sell something to them, they don’t want the others to have it. They’re always looking over their shoulders to see what the competition is doing.”
Retail sales account for about 10% of Baldor’s sales, he said.
Supermarkets are investing more in merchandising, said Nick Pacia, co-owner and vice president of A.J. Trucco Inc., New York.
“They are building bigger displays and are doing more cross-merchandising, which results in better sales,” he said. “They do well by creating large and more visible displays and by offering a wider variety of items. Also, switching out the highlighted items on their weekly circulars more consistently attracts customers as well.”
Retail sales aren’t as dependable as before, said Jeff Young, a fruit buyer for New York-based A&J Produce Corp.
“The business comes in spurts,” he said. “It’s nothing steady. It’s nothing one can count on anymore. It’s all in timing, as we have these transportation disruptions. It’s nothing we can count on in a daily basis.”