LOS ANGELES -- Gelson's Markets tries to spoil customers to discourage them from shopping anywhere else, Donna Tyndall, vice president, grocery purchasing and advertising, said here.
"We try to give consumers what they want," she told the Food Industries Sales Managers Club. "They can go elsewhere to shop, but we spoil them so they won't like it anywhere else and will come back to us."
Gelson's, based in Encino, Calif., operates 17 Southern California stores under its own banner and one unit under the Mayfair Markets banner. Its mission statement, Tyndall said, reads, "To make shopping anywhere else unacceptable for consumers who value quality products, cleanliness, convenience and personal service."
To demonstrate the success with which the company executes its goals, Tyndall compared several aspects of Gelson's operations with industry averages. Despite operating smaller stores -- an average of 31,000 square feet for Gelson's, compared with an industry average of 44,000 square feet -- Gelson's exceeds most industry standards, she said, including the following:
Weekly sales per store, $429,000 at Gelson's (excluding bakery and pharmacy, which are leased), compared with an industry average of $369,000 (including bakery and pharmacy).
Weekly sales per square foot of selling area, $21.30, compared with an industry average of $10.83.
Sales per customer transaction, $30, compared with an industry average of $25.
Labor as a percentage of sales, 14%, compared with an industry average of 11%.
Employee benefits as a percentage of sales, 6.9%, compared with an industry average of 3%.
Looking at individual departments, Tyndall made the following comparisons:
Service deli sales, 14% of store totals at Gelson's, compared with an industry average of 3.4%.
Produce and floral sales, 19% of store totals, compared with an industry average of 9.8%.
Meat sales, 11.4% of the total (excluding hanging deli items), compared with an industry average of 14.4% (including hanging items).