Consumers prefer stores at 30-50K square feet: NGA study

February 17, 2011

Most people would try a new right-sized store, if other key factors in store choice were about equal.

When it comes to store size, consumers say the 30,001-50,000 square foot format is their sweet spot for most food-buying trips. Nearly six in ten (57%) feel it offers the right balance for their needs, according to findings of the 2011 National Grocers Association-SupermarketGuru Consumer Panel Report.

The combo store format of 50,001-70,000 square feet is the second-most popular choice, cited by 19% of respondents; yet that’s exactly one-third as many as cited the conventional size, so it isn’t a close second. And for all the talk about Tesco-size stores, the fresh-to-go format is apparently thought of as more for convenience than filling full household needs.

Do people feel their current primary supermarket is sized right for their needs? About three-quarters of consumers (74%) say yes. At least with regard to store size, the vast majority of adults are happy with what’s in front of them. Any gripes they have about size, aisle comfort, walking requirements or assortment depth and breadth are minor in comparison, their answers indicate.
Still, a majority of consumers would be curious enough to try a new store – if it was their preferred store size, was convenient to their home, and price/quality was about the same as where they shop now. Some 53% say they would try it out, and another 22% would definitely switch. Right-sizing is key because 90% of adults confirm that size is a main factor in their store choice. Just fewer than one in six (16%) say they wouldn’t entertain a move because they like their current store enough to keep shopping there.

Who’s open to the new-store trial?  Adults who work full-time (57%), the $101 and over weekly grocery spenders (44%), and two of the three lowest income groups earning $25,001-$65,000 (30%). These same groups similarly led the ‘would definitely switch’ vote.