business news in context, analysis with attitude

In a new report, TNS Retail Forward suggests that the increased cost of food and gasoline is having a broad series of impacts on US shopping patterns that, in the broadest sense, is causing people to change the stores they visit, the frequency of their shopping trips, and the products they choose.

Among the specific revelations:

• Seventy-five percent of people are planning errands to minimize the distance traveled.

• Fifty-eight percent are saying that they are going to stores where they can do one-stop shopping, with 55 percent saying they are choosing stores closer to work and/or home.

• Twenty-six percent of shoppers are turning to retailers other than where they usually shop to offset high gasoline prices. They are shopping more at discount and value formats and less at upscale and specialty retailers. In contrast, patrons of upscale and specialty formats report shopping them less often to get better deals elsewhere.

• Twenty-six percent of consumers say they are choosing to do more online shopping as a way of saving their own fuel expenses.

• Eight percent of consumers are saying that they are using public transportation instead of driving (a number that may be this low because of the lack of choices available in many communities).

KC's View:
Chains need to be having meetings, department by department, to identify new and innovative approaches that will help them deal with these shifts. There will be a lot of debate about whether they are permanent or temporary…and where you fall on this debate will depend on how you feel about the economy. Are these trends, or are we seeing some sort of profound transformation?

I’d vote for the latter. Which means that businesses have to think about transformation, too.