WASHINGTON -- "The onslaught of Wal-Mart, the growth of warehouse clubs, the emergence of the category killers and the recent evolution of the supercenter have provided all of us with a 'wake up' call for how we go to market," said Bob Sigel, president and chief executive officer of Millbrook Distribution Services, Leicester, Mass.
In an address at the company's Expo '96 conference and trade show here, he urged everyone to concentrate on their core competencies to find solutions to the challenges they face.
Indeed, steps are being taken to refocus efforts on health and beauty care and general merchandise. Also, new categories, such as specialty foods, are being embraced as a way for supermarkets to distinguish themselves from alternative formats and enhance the total shopping experience.
Among the key solutions now used by trading partners are:
Creating destination departments in supermarkets.
Delivering exciting, new products to shoppers in a more timely and cost effective manner.
Employing the techniques of category management.
These efforts are signs that the grocery industry is beginning to take change of its destiny. They were just some of the solutions discussed during a roundtable discussion sponsored by Millbrook Distribution Services at its Expo '96.
Participants in the roundtable, besides Sigel, were Paul Musico, manager of strategy and support at Chesebrough-Pond's, Greenwich, Conn.; Michael Thompson, vice president and general manager of Dare Foods, Marblehead, Mass.; Robert Highsmith, vice president and general manager of Kash n' Karry Food Stores, Tampa, Fla.; Darryl Wikoff, president of Dierbergs Markets, Chesterfield, Mo.; Ron Shooltz, chief operating officer of Wesselman's, Evansville, Ind., and Milan "Buzz" Purigraski, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Mead School and Office Products, Dayton, Ohio. The discussion was moderated by John Karolefski, senior editor of SN and editor of Brand Marketing.