WILTON, Conn. -- Grocery retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers have become more interdependent than ever before due to Efficient Consumer Response programs, according to a study by Deloitte & Touche Consulting Group's Consumer Intensive Business Practice here.
cater to consumers.
Over a five-year period, sales growth in those sectors slowed because of low food-price inflation and nearly flat consumer demand, the study said.
Retailers raised profit margins in that time vs. their historical levels by maximizing operating efficiencies and slicing replenishment and inventory costs. A downward trend in days in inventory -- from 39.7 to 37.6 days between 1992 and 1994 -- spearheaded cost-reduction and efficiency efforts, the study reported.
In the wholesale sector, a wave of mergers and acquisitions squeezed profits, the study said, but re-engineering efforts should improve that sector's long-term financial performance.
For the study, released last month, Deloitte & Touche analyzed 130 companies from 1990 to 1994, including A&P, Albertson's, American Stores, Bruno's, Delchamps, Eagle Food Centers, Food Lion, Safeway, Publix, Winn-Dixie, Vons Cos., Stop & Shop, Giant Food, Grand Union, Hannaford Bros., Kroger Co., Smith's Food & Drug, Penn Traffic, Pathmark, Fleming Cos., Supervalu, Certified Grocers, Spartan Stores, Nash Finch Co. and Roundy's.