Grocery stores and discount markets across the Golden Triangle and the country recently have been seeing a dramatic increase in customer traffic and sales, as consumers seek to trim costs amid the recession.
“In general, people are eating out less and instead eating more at home,” said Joe Bell, manager of marketing and public relations at Kroger”s Memphis, Tenn., corporate office. “It”s been about what you would expect right now at our stores across the nation.
“During the first quarter this year, Kroger posted really good earnings and good sales,” Bell added. “We have actually been lucky compared to some of the other nationwide food chains, and we are very well positioned for the economy right now.”
As consumers across the nation have been struggling to deal with a worldwide economic downturn, shoppers have been flocking to grocery and discount stores in lieu of fast food chains and diners.
During the first quarter this year, which ended May 1, Dollar General stores across the nation reported a 15.7 percent increase in sales when compared to the same time last year, according to a company report.
The company”s net income during this year”s first quarter also increased to $83 million from $5.9 million during the 2008 first quarter.
“Our loyal customers are shopping with us more often, and we believe that we are also attracting new customers,” Rick Dreiling, Dollar General chairman and chief executive officer, wrote in a press release.
“We are very pleased that the momentum that began in 2008 has continued to build in 2009, enabling us to report a very strong start to the year,” Dreiling added. “Customers are responding positively to the changes we are making in our stores.”
Locally, managers at the area”s Sunflower Food Stores said they have seen a steady increase in sales and customer traffic at their stores.
“It”s a little hard to tell exactly how much our business has been affected by the economy,” said Clint Townsend, assistant manager of the local grocery chain. “We haven”t necessarily seen a high increase during the past few months, but we have seen our sales go up year after year.
“The economy has definitely gotten people shopping at the grocery store more and eating out less,” Townsend added. “Eating out is down right now, but I don”t know if it”s necessarily down as much as people have been making it out to be.”
Kory Lundberg, demand media manager with Wal-Mart”s corporate headquarters in Bentonville, Ark., said officials with the retail giant this month will reveal the company”s most recent sales figures on Aug. 13. The company no longer releases monthly sales figures.
In the first quarter of 2009, however, Wal-Mart”s profits were below analysts” estimates, which the company blamed on a later Easter holiday and low inflation in its grocery unit.
You can help your community
Quality, in-depth journalism is essential to a healthy community. The Dispatch brings you the most complete reporting and insightful commentary in the Golden Triangle, but we need your help to continue our efforts. Please consider subscribing to our website for only $2.30 per week to help support local journalism and our community.