Supermarket Darwinism

Detroit-area supermarkets are shrinking in face of "wholesale stores" with Walmart still to come.
February 9, 2004, 6am PST | Chris Steins | @urbaninsight
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"The Metro Detroit grocery industry has become a battlefield... Multiple stores vying for the food dollar of one cross-shopping suburban mom -- is a microcosm of today's grocery industry... Discount juggernauts such as Costco Wholesale Corp. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. are crowding out traditional supermarkets on one end, while specialty and health food stores such as Whole Foods chip away at the other... The impact is already evident in Metro Detroit. Once-dominant Michigan chains like Spartan Stores, Meijer Inc. and Farmer Jack have been forced to cut wages, shutter dozens of stores and -- just since September -- eliminate more than 1,100 hourly and management jobs. The good paying union grocery jobs are being replaced by lower-paying jobs at places like Wal-Mart. With families stretching their food dollars by shopping at superstores, many neighborhood grocers could be driven out of business. Experts say further job losses and store closures are inevitable as industry newcomers are eroding longtime loyalties by appealing to consumers' desire for value and quality. And the biggest tidal wave hasn’t even hit Metro Detroit grocers yet: Wal-Mart..." [Related stories at and]

Thanks to Richard Layman

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Published on Sunday, February 8, 2004 in The Detroit News
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