CAMBRIDGE Mass. — A regional grocery operator can hold its own against Wal-Mart Stores by emphasizing value and neighborhood appeal, according to a study by Kantar Retail here that compared a Wal-Mart Supercenter with a new 76,000-square-foot Market Basket less than a mile away in Epping, N.H.
While a basket analysis indicated Wal-Mart was nearly 10% less expensive overall, Market Basket beat Wal-Mart on select promotional items, particularly in its food and private-label offerings, which supported its value positioning using the slogan, "More for your dollar," the study indicated.
"Wal-Mart's grip on price leadership was strong, but Market Basket effectively carved a relevant value proposition through assortment and signage to fulfill its shopper expectations," it said.
In terms of store ambiance, the study found "that the Wal-Mart was so clean that it became almost sterile and so uniform that it turned almost faceless," which may be unavoidable, given that Wal-Mart's scale necessitates structure and standardization to keep its operating model profitable and consistent, Kantar Retail pointed out; whereas Market Basket's "use of personal appeals, handwritten signage and a neighborhood style established [it] as not only more regional and authentic but also as more engaged with shoppers.
"It is this connection that Market Basket may leverage to develop shopper loyalty, thus providing the means to maintain its shopper base or at least share of wallet," Kantar said.