business news in context, analysis with attitude

Business First of Buffalo reports that Ahold-owned Tops Markets seems to losing market share in that city, as the number of people who described it as their "supermarket of choice" dropped from 55 percent to 47 percent just during the last year. It’s part of a long-term decline; in 2000, 59 percent of poll respondents preferred Tops.

Wegmans, on the other hand, is moving up in customers' estimation, increasing the number of people who prefer it to 34 percent, from 31 percent a year ago.

According to the paper, "Aldi's is preferred by 6 percent of the respondents while Jubilee is the first choice for 5 percent. Another 7 percent listed other stores, such as Dash's Market or Quality, as their preferred choice."

But the big news clearly is the fact that Wegmans is tightening the competition. And here's the kicker. According to Business First, "Wegmans improved its market share without adding a new location in Erie or Niagara counties since 1999."
KC's View:
One of the things that the paper suggests is that Wegmans' growth and Tops' problems probably have nothing to do with Ahold's troubles, and that most people in the Buffalo area probably don't even know much about the billion-dollar accounting scandal that has plagued Ahold's operations, or about the centralization/consolidation move that is ongoing at Ahold USA.

In fact, the paper quotes an expert of uncommon perspective (not to mention considerable modesty) as saying: "The growth is more of a testament to Wegmans' excellence than any corporate problems with Tops' parent company."

That self-effacing expert, of course, is the Content Guy. (Us.)

However, the paper did get one thing wrong. We are quoted as saying, "They (Wegmans) do a good job of communicating to their customers. They want to be more than just a source of food. They want to be a source of food, as it relates to eating."

Now, either that is a typo or we didn’t say exactly what we meant, which would have been: "They want to be more than just a source of food. They also want to be a resource for information."

Because that always has struck us as being one of Wegmans' greatest strengths - the trust that it has engendered in its customer base through constant and effective communications.