Saturday Six Pack: John Dumais
1. A lot of people are still asking why Stop & Shop pulled out of New Hampshire and Shaw's closed so many stores. How do you answer that question?
The retail food industry is a dynamic, high-volume, low-profit industry that is always seeking to satisfy the consumers changing shopping patterns. To remain competitive, all businesses need to be constantly evaluating the operations and make adjustments as needed. In the case of these two companies, certain under-performing stores needed to be shuttered. This is usually caused by increased competition. Many of the recent closings have occurred due to too many stores in the same area.
2. What do those closings mean for the state?
With food stores, these operating adjustments indicate the customer will always benefit. For now it demonstrates that the remaining stores in an area are providing the value, selection and service the customers want. In the long run, it means the now vacated storefronts will eventually open with new competitors and new products or services, providing even more opportunities for the consumer. This continual evaluation and adjustment process means that consumers and the state will benefit financially from this activity.
3. What are the biggest challenges for grocers in New Hampshire?
Knowing exactly what the consumer wants. An average supermarket has over 30,000 different products on it shelves. Each year, more than 50,000 products are introduced by manufacturers. Consumers are influenced by their dietary needs, advertisements and trends. As consumer buying habits change, grocers need to continually adjust what they offer for sale.
4. Nashua and Portsmouth now have Trader Joe's stores, and Bedford has a Fresh Market. What sort of expectations should NH consumers have regarding the prospects of other gourmet grocery stores opening in the near future?
Most likely, consumers will see more changes in what is offered and what services are provided. Organics, healthy foods, exotic produce and meat variations are hot right now. At the same time, prepared meals cooked by chefs in the store are growing, as well as small cafes within the store for meals or snacks. Even home delivery is making somewhat of a comeback. Some of these changes will be seen in new companies as well as existing, traditional grocery stores.
5. How does the future look for small, neighborhood grocers like Sully's in Goffstown?
There will always be a place for the smaller neighborhood store. With their smaller size, they are better at knowing their individual customers and have the ability to respond more quickly to changing needs and request. That means convenience and service!
6. Politically, what would be the biggest nightmare scenario for New Hampshire grocers in the next two years?
Having increased taxes on what we sell. With such small profit margins (one half of one percent), any tax increase is automatically passed on to the consumer. It is well known that 40% of all New Hampshire food sales are purchased by out-of-state-consumers. Most of these customers live in surrounding states, but do their shopping in New Hampshire mainly because we have a huge price advantage on what we sell.
Every state has the same mix of stores which have the same departments and products for sale. Consumers drive here to make their purchases because they can save money. Our elected officials understand that lower taxes and fees (like no sales tax, low taxes on gasoline, alcoholic beverages and tobacco products) are a huge draw.
In addition, while these cross-border consumers are drawn here by lower food prices, they also take time to spend their money at shopping centers, restaurants, entertainment venues and many of our beautiful recreational areas. Combined, this is a huge advantage in total revenue for our state, initiated many times by the regular offering of extra value in the food store.
READER COMMENTS: 4
- More than 1,800 people attend calling hours for Marine - 5
- Greenfield family receives body of Garabrant, veterans offer tribute to Marine killed in Afghanistan - 3
- Fallen Marine to return to NH on Saturday; calling hours, service set for next week in Peterborough - 0
- Monadnock area family of killed Marine travels to Delaware for arrival of body - 0
- ISIS' victories may win it recruits from rival Syrian rebel groups - 0
- Bomb kills NH Marine - 2
- NH Marine killed by roadside bomb in Afghanistan - 7
- General: Iraq asks U.S. for air support to stop rebels - 0
- U.S. cuts embassy staff in Baghdad as insurgents approach Iraqi capital - 0
READER COMMENTS: 0
- 132-mph street racers blow by trooper in Nashua, one of two arrested; motorcyclist arrested on I-93 doing 107 mph - 0
- Mazzaglia to be sentenced Aug. 14 for murder of UNH student - 0
- Lost Massachusetts hikers found safe in NH - 0
- GOP criticizes Shaheen flip flop on gas tax - 5
- No one has a clear claim to NHMS supremacy - 0
- Sentence fragment: Coco's cuckoo release - 0
- Charles Arlinghaus: Does Concord have a big spending problem? - 1
- Ban fireworks? Get serious - 5
- Another View - Kevin Smith: Londonderry is showing how to make NH business-friendly - 0
Police say Manchester woman arrested for punching ex-boyfriend during custody exchange in Walmart parking lot
Bikers say under-30 generation isn't interested, and can't afford many of the top motorcycles
Praising freedom: While curtailing it
Ban fireworks? Get serious
GOP criticizes Shaheen over gas tax