And it’s got there without coupons, loyalty cards, print or TV advertising, or a corporate presence on social media, notes Susan Porjes, senior market analyst at Packaged Facts and the author of a new report ‘Trader Joe's and the Natural Food Channel’.
“No one else has the same assortment of merchandise because about 80% of Trader Joe’s inventory is composed of private label items.
“Trader Joe’s is also unparalleled because it embraces a combination of gourmet, natural/organic, and ethnic/multicultural foods rather than focusing on just one of these sectors—and it does so at far lower prices than upscale specialty grocers and most natural foods stores. Moreover, the chain’s incomparable atmosphere makes it a fun destination rather than a tedious shopping trip.”
Trader Joe’s has never tried to be everything to everybody
Notoriously secretive (it’s owned by a family trust set up by Theo Albrecht, one of the brothers behind German discount chain ALDI), Trader Joe’s 2013 sales were estimated to be up 7.6% to $11.3bn (Supermarket News data), from 411 stores in 38 states, with its largest concentration of stores (40%) in California, said Porjes.
Trader Joe’s also proves that less can be a lot more, when it comes to grocery retailing, carrying less than 4,000 skus in stores that typically measure just 8-12,000sq ft, she added.
“Trader Joe’s has never tried to be everything to everybody. In fact, from its very inception, the chain never intended to completely replace conventional supermarkets for the average weekly shopping trip; thus, national brands were not necessary.”
Kitschy? You bet. But the formula works