Is it time for Publix to expand its Greenwise Market concept? - retail yarn (2023)

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05 December 2022

bymatthew stern

Is it time for Publix to expand its Greenwise Market concept? - retail yarn (1)

2022 is shaping up to be a banner year for Publix's Greenwise Market format.

Greenwise's organic food and specialty staples concept in Florida saw higher year-over-year growth in foot traffic in September than Publix's brick-and-mortar stores, according to a Placer.ai study published inWinsight Grocery Store.

Visits to Greenwise Market increased 6.4% during the month, while visits to Publix decreased 3.9%. September continued a trend that saw monthly visits to Publix in Florida fall in June, July and August, even as visits to Greenwise grew by double digits. The time shoppers spent in Greenwise (28 minutes) was also longer than in Publix stores (24 to 26 minutes).

Publix's traffic gains/losses and its Greenwise concept can be explained, in part, by their relative sizes. Greenwise, with only eight stores, manages to present more significant percentage variations than Publix with its 1,313 stores.

Publix initially launched its natural/organic store concept under the slightly different banner of Publix Greenwise Market in 2008, according to theTampa Bay Business Magazine🇧🇷 The concept evolved into Greenwise Market, which began opening stores in 2018.

Major supermarket chains began experimenting with small-format supermarkets in the early to mid-2010s, when these formats emerged as a way to woo urban shoppers. The small formats proved to fit more easily in urban neighborhoods where large boxes would not fit.

Target was so successful with small stores that in early 2020, before the pandemic,plans madeto build an even smaller concept store.

However, not all experimentation with new store concepts has tended in a minor direction.

In November, TargetAnnouncedthat it was launching a new 150,000-square-foot concept store, 20,000 feet larger than your average Target store.The new format, which won't be as large as the retailer's grocery concept SuperTarget stores, will include more space for food and beverages than a typical Target big box.

In addition to more space and an expanded product selection, Target's new concept has five times the backroom area for in-store order fulfillment, pick-up and shipping. Like Target's popular small flexible format stores, the new concept features localized elements. The first new and largest redesigned store opened near Houston.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What factors (demographics, operational execution, etc.) are critical to making small format supermarkets work? Do you see opportunities for Publix to significantly scale its Greenwise Market concept?

please practiceRetailWire's Golden Ruleby submitting your comments.

brain trust

"Publix has realized that the shoot-em-up approach to retail can mask specific niche opportunities."

Richard J. George, Ph.D.Professor de Food Marketing, Haub School of Business, Saint Joseph's University

Richard J. George, Ph.D.Professor de Food Marketing, Haub School of Business, Saint Joseph's University

"There's nothing stopping Publix from finding places to expand its Greenwise Market concept, except capital expenditures..."

"I don't know for the life of me why Publix has been slow to embrace this concept."

Ken MorrisSocio director Cambridge Retail Advisors

Ken MorrisSocio director Cambridge Retail Advisors

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8Comments on "Is it time for Publix to scale up its Greenwise Market concept?"

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Ken MorrisSocio director Cambridge Retail Advisors

Is it time for Publix to expand its Greenwise Market concept? - retail yarn (6)

1 day 21 hours ago

I'm not sure for the life of me why Publix has been slow to embrace this concept. I first experienced the Greenwise concept when they opened in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. It was essentially their version of Whole Foods, and it always drew a huge crowd. This placement may not have been the best as I see success with this format due to demographics. Palm Beach or Jupiter are much better candidates. Just follow the leader here and open where Whole Foods has built a clientele.

By the way, Publix could probably scale its number of Greenwise locations substantially, based on these numbers. But they have to be careful about cannibalizing their larger format stores, which are already on every corner in Florida. Another thing that intrigues me is that shoppers spend more time in the smaller Greenwise stores than in the larger ones. Maybe there's an idea here that could be carried over to the larger stores.

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Richard J. George, Ph.D.Professor de Food Marketing, Haub School of Business, Saint Joseph's University

Is it time for Publix to expand its Greenwise Market concept? - retail yarn (8)

1 day 20 hours ago

Publix realized that the one-shot approach to retail can mask specific niche opportunities, including the highly profitable and successful concept of organic foods and specialty essentials. Publix realized that the organic market was booming, as witnessed by the success of Whole Foods, Sprouts, and others. No doubt these chains were gaining share from Publix, so Greenwise is both a defensive and offensive strategy. Greenwise is less about store size and more about developing a mix of products and services designed to cater to this niche market. Always remember that there are riches in niches.

While the article discusses the size of the store, the real reason the Greenwise concept is unique is its commitment to organic and specialty foods. Throughout its short life (four years), Greenwise successfully combated efforts to make it more like Publix, with additions of bugs (fried chicken, pub sandwiches, etc.) characteristic of a traditional Publix.

By keeping the focus on the Greenwise customer and developing the right offerings for that customer, this concept is highly scalable.

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Dr. Stephen Needel Managing Partner, Advanced Simulations

Is it time for Publix to expand its Greenwise Market concept? - retail yarn (10)

1 day 20 hours ago

One might be tempted to think, like Dr. George, that a store dedicated to organics is scalable (I agree, it's not about the size of the store, it's about the content). However, our local Greenwise in suburban Atlanta closed after less than a year and the small-format store converted to a Publix small-format rather than a new Greenwise. Shoppers may not be prepared for the price and limited selection of organic products.

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Is it time for Publix to expand its Greenwise Market concept? - retail yarn (12)

1 day 20 hours ago

The key to the success of small format grocery stores is that they are not just "small grocery stores" but have a unique purpose. Publix seems to have figured this out.

Traditional stores were designed to keep the shopper in the store. If you needed milk, you had to go to and from the far end of the store. They hoped that as he passed through other parts of the store he would pick up a few other things. Today's buyer is not in a good mood. It's all about time and convenience.

With the discovery and growth of the Internet, shoppers can meet X percent of their needs from their phone, tablet, or computer. They cannot or do not want to buy organic or fresh products online.

Yes, a lot of grocery shopping is done in brick-and-mortar supermarkets, but that's not the future.

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Tara Kirkpatrick Mobile Trend Analyst, Apptopia

Is it time for Publix to expand its Greenwise Market concept? - retail yarn (14)

1 day 20 hours ago

As for Publix Greenwise locations, the key to the success of the small format seems to be playing with a lot of foot traffic and setting up the store to be accessible to a tourist without a car. They also chose shopping centers or streets that only have restaurants nearby. The nearest grocery store would be within a driving distance. Target would like to think the same way and appear where tourists would simply buy necessities at a CVS.

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Is it time for Publix to expand its Greenwise Market concept? - retail yarn (16)

1 day 19 hours ago

Based on the market, demographics, stage of life, and lifestyle, Greenwise Market makes a lot of sense. A select segment of the population prefers a healthier set of select SKUs in a more intimate shopping experience. Fresh Market, for example, caters to the same demographic here in the Midwest. There's nothing stopping Publix from finding places to expand its Greenwise Market concept, other than the capital expenditures associated with it, plus ensuring quality standards are met every business day.

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Craig Sundstrom Director financiero, Weisner Steel

Is it time for Publix to expand its Greenwise Market concept? - retail yarn (18)

1 day 16 hours ago

I'm not sure of Matt's logic for lumping “Greenwise” into the “minor format” category; obviously, they're physically smaller than your typical super, but that's because the organic marketplace itself is inherently smaller (smaller in terms of SKUs offered and sales potential). More straight to the pointI don't think they are smaller than their organic peers..
The potential growth that Publix can expect is based on the size of the organic sector and how much they are willing to spice up the organic component with the "essential" bit: the more of the latest they add, the larger (presumably) the audience will be, but also it dilutes the “green” part…and actually turns them into (simply) smaller markets.

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Brad Halverson Director, Clearbrand CX

Is it time for Publix to expand its Greenwise Market concept? - retail yarn (20)

1 day 15 hours ago

We can assume that smaller stores fit more easily into existing neighborhoods and scale if execution is strong. The big story here is whether Publix wants to continue to open and operate mainstream stores or structure and operate to view each retail area based on key market sensibilities with a focus on the product, content and authentic experiences the community wants. For some, they will be authentic high-quality/organic stores. In other communities, lower prices and greater convenience fit better. Store size can be a useful stereotypical benchmark, but market fit, focus, and product matching to customer needs are more important as long-term drivers.

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Is it time for Publix to expand its Greenwise Market concept? - retail yarn (21)

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