Longo’s opens its 25th grocery store.

 A family grocery chain that came to Mississauga as an outdoor market some 45 years ago  has grown to 25 stores across the province.

Business is booming. Anthony Longo tours his new store in Leaside. The family grocery chain is a Mississauga favourite. Toronto Star photo

The family-owned Longo’s chain is in expansion mode, having more than doubled its number of stores in the GTA since 2000. The new 48,000-sq.-ft. Leaside store opens today, bringing the number of Longo’s stores in Ontario to 25.

CEO Anthony Longo’s father opened the first store on Yonge. St. in Toronto in 1956. The family lived upstairs.

The Longos moved their base of operations to an open-air market at the four corners in Malton in 1967.

Longo’s opened its first real supermarket at Goreway Dr. and Derry Rd. in 1980. It closed in September 2008 but the chain still has three stores in Mississauga, where it was based for many years.

In all, 14 family members work full-time in the business.

“As a family, we set out to decide, how far do we want to grow? We decided we’ll stop when we can’t execute great stores anymore. I don’t know when that is,” said Longo.

Longo said the competition in the grocery market is “very fierce.” Despite that, there is room for growth, he said. In the GTA, groceries is a $13-billion a year business.

Wincor Nixdorf High Speed Checkout with 360 Scanners.

360 Scanners Revolutionize Checkout With High-Speed Automatic Scanning

360 Scanner from Wincor NixdorfFor many people, grocery shopping is a dreaded chore. It means having to make a list, fight traffic, snag a parking spot, bump your way through a labyrinth of aisles, shoppers, and shopping carts and sort through thousands of products, brands, and prices in order to collect your necessities and hopefully stay within your budget. By the time you are ready to check out and pay, having to choose between a long line of overflowing carts and a persnickety old self-checkout machine might be enough to make you cry.

Here at The BarCode News, we are always on the lookout for new technology that will improve the shopping experience for customers, and increase efficiency for business owners. Once in a while, something comes along that seems revolutionary. 360 scanners for checkout lines indeed fits that category.

Imagine, instead of a cashier having to handle every item in your cart, or you having to play spin the bottle with your ketchup at the self-checkout, you simply place your items on a conveyor belt where they are automatically scanned by the time they get to the bagging station. This is possible with 360 scanners.

As the name denotes, 360 scanners are capable of scanning a product bar code from 360 degrees, so it does not matter how the item is placed on the conveyor belt. The machines perform automatic scanning on multiple bar codes at a time, processing items at a speed twice as fast as traditional scanners (up to 60 items per minute), with 98 percent accuracy. If an faulty bar code cannot be scanned or an item requires age-verification, then the 360 scanner snaps a picture of the item and displays it to the checkout attendant for quick resolution.

Both Wincor Nixdorf Inc. and Fujitsu have introduced 360 scanners for use in grocery and high-volume retail environments.360 Scanner from Wincor Nixdorf

Wincor Nixdorf developed the 360 Scan portal as part of their advanced Automated Checkout Suite, with the partnership ofDatalogic Scanning andRoyston LLC. Wincor’s 360 Scan portal is built with the new 360-degree automatic scanning technology, to speed up checkout lines, improve the customer experience as well as increase operational efficiency.

The software is flexible so that the 360 Scan Portal can be used either as a self-checkout or with an attendant during high-traffic hours. Since the attendant does not have to scan the items, he or she can simply bag up the groceries so that the customer is ready to pay and go by the time the cart is unloaded. The system is so efficient that it can allow one attendant to serve two lines at a time. It is also customizable for different retail environments and multiple payment methods.

Fujitsu also introduced a 360 scanner at last year’s NRF. Fujitsu’s 360 scanner also boasts 98+% scanning accuracy and the ability to manage faulty bar codes and restricted items with ease.

The Advantage Checkout 360 scanner enhances the customer checkout experience and potentially reduces the number of checkout lanes, allowing staff to move to other valuable activities. The checkout system’s Metrologic scanner/scale functions with six-sided, 360° scanning and integrated electronic article surveillance (EAS).

Watch this video from Wincor to see how the 360 scanner works:

www.wincor-nixdorf.com/usa.

http://solutions.us.fujitsu.com

(Images courtesy of Wincor Nixdorf Inc.)

Its Convenience, Not Price, which Limits Veggie Consumption

A research paper published in Public Health Nutrition posits that price is less of a factor in deciding to buy vegetables and fruits. Rather, it’s the convenient access to quality produce that increased purchases.

String Beans in bulk at a supermarket

The research was conducted in low income neighborhoods in Chicago, where you would expect every dollar to count.

Participants who agreed that they had “convenient access to quality” produce were more than twice as likely to eat the FDA-recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables, compared to those who said they did not have such access. read more from the Washington Post…

While this proves a correlation, it does not necessarily mean causation. The laws of economics have taught us that low prices are indeed a factor in food purchase decisions. Obviously not the only factor.

What we’ve heard and seen (qualitatively) is that many people don’t purchase vegetable because they don’t quite know what to do with them. Or can’t be bothered with the cleaning and trimming which takes time.

That’s why simple and quick recipes need to be made a part of kids’ curriculum in school and extra-curricular activities. If it’s too late for our generation, perhaps our kids can come from school one days and teach us how to prepare broccoli that doesn’t stink.

What’s holding you back from consuming more produce?

Pick n Pay ups shareholding in TM Supermarkets

Johannesburg, Dec 9 (I-Net Bridge) – In a deal that will pump US$13 million into the Zimbabwean economy, SA’s second-largest grocer Pick n Pay (PIK) on Friday said the final government hurdle had been cleared for it to up its holdings in TM Supermarkets from 25% to 49%.

The TM Chain is controlled by Meikles Limited and is the largest chain of retail stores in Zimbabwe by number of stores, with 51 outlets.

“Yesterday the shareholders of TM Supermarkets voted unanimously to allow Pick n Pay to purchase the additional 24% of shares,” Pick n Pay said.

In November, the Competition and Tariff Commission of Zimbabwe declared that it had examined the competitive effects of the merger on the Zimbabwean market and established that the transaction did not reduce competition or create a monopoly situation, but rather strengthened the ailing TM Supermarkets.

The commission then agreed to Pick n Pay taking its shareholding of TM Supermarkets to 49% subject to certain conditions pertaining to labour and local procurement of goods.

“The acquisition of the additional shareholding in TM Stores has been a protracted one that has stretched over more than three years, and required the approval of the Zimbabwean Investment Authority, the Zimbabwean Reserve Bank, the Zimbabwean National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board, and now finally the approval of the Competition and Tariff Commission of Zimbabwe,” Nick Badminton, Chief Executive Officer of Pick n Pay said.

Dallas Langman, head of group enterprises (Africa) at Pick n Pay said it was important to note that not a cent of the money coming into the TM Stores business would go towards shareholder dividends.

“All the money is earmarked for developing and strengthening TM stores in Zimbabwe. Some seven stores will be rebranded with the Pick n Pay brand, but we wish to express our confidence in the TM brand and respect its history in Zimbabwe,” he stressed.

“The investment will see money being spent on local procurement processes and will give employment to Zimbabweans during the refurbishment of stores and the staffing of them,” Langman added.

The small-store owner is too important, nimble and innovative to be bumped off by big-box retailers in India.

Kirana RIP? Not Yet.

The arguments for and against FDI in retail are, at a generic level, valid on both sides. However, since the devil is usually in the detail, the facts about India’s small retailers and suppliers, the conditions stipulated for FDI, and recent experience with the effects of domestic modern retail need to be viewed together before the likely outcome pronounced. The big fight is about whether this new policy will kill small shops, massively destroy livelihoods and take away GenNext’s opportunities. Facts suggest otherwise. Consider the kirana, the one most feared to be at risk. About 5-6 million of the 8 million FMCG-stocking kiranas are in rural India, and are totally safe, as the new ones can only come into the top 53 cities.

R Sriram, founder of Crossword and retail expert, tables two insights. One, in many big cities, kiranas are already not participating in the growth offered by the newer settlements like Gurgaon or Powai, because without their advantage of historically-priced real estate, they are not viable. Two, increasingly, small shopkeepers’ children are getting better educated and want to exit ‘sitting in the shop’ as soon as possible, just as small farmers’ children are exiting farming. Sadly, the country’s retail density has been increasing in recent years, not driven by passion or profit, but because of lack of options — hopefully that will change. It is true that traditional income streams of small shops in the vicinity of a large supermarket plummet; but we have seen that they soon recast their business model, exploiting the inherent advantages they have that the supermarket cannot emulate: free, prompt and no-conditions home delivery, superior and customised customer relationship management, khaata- credit and willingness to stock small quantities of something used by only a few people in their catchment — a classic ‘long-tail’ strategy. Notice two more things: even in upper-class areas in large cities, despite large retail chains in the vicinity, the small vegetable vendor and kirana continue to find a place in the household’s shopping basket. The kirana also continuously morphs, and is already moving to a more specialised and selective portfolio. We will find them variously choosing to become more of a convenience store (7-Eleven-type), or fresh-food store, a home-delivery store, maybe even express-format franchisees of large retail, and so on.

Another reality check: how much consumption capacity do even the top 50 cities have? Seriously, how many more Ikea, Zara, Walmart, Tesco and Best Buy can a Surat, Kanpur or Indore absorb, in addition to more Big Bazaar, Megamart and Croma? Further, foreign specialty retailers targeting the rich consumer will create never-before custom, and not at the expense of existing shops. Two decades ago, we had the same hue and cry that Indian brands would be wiped out; but they got better and bigger than they would have had they been left unchallenged. Now for the suppliers. Large suppliers will lose the pricing power they had with small retailers and nobody on any side of the FDI debate is grieving for them. Small suppliers, even without FDI, are being mercilessly squeezed by middlemen. The hope is that large retail chains, unlike the broker middleman, have more incentive to pay more because they have customer loyalty and a brand to build; in exchange for steady, loyal, consistent quality supply, they will pay more, guarantee offtake, improve product and production efficiency. The FDI norm of at least 30% sourcing from small scale pushes this further. Walmart potentially could kill the small suppliers of anything by importing 70% from China cheaper; but loads of small traders are already doing the same, flooding our markets with Ganesh murtis, chappals, clothes, watches, etc.

The Achilles’ heel for a lot of skilled artisans, specialised producers, grass roots innovators, etc, is market orientation and marketing. Producer collectives have managed to organise themselves on the supply side using government assistance schemes, but they struggle to manage the demand side. That is the missing link that large retailers in vendor development mode can provide, just as the auto industry has done to ancillary suppliers. Both sides agree that customers will gain because large chain retailers can provide better for cheaper, given the discounts they get through buying large quantities and sourcing smartly. Customers will also get a wider range, more innovative products and more comfortable, truthful and informed shopping environment. Poor customers won’t get discriminated against, because the hypermarket is anonymous, transactional, classless and nonjudgemental. They may not get better service because the small Indian retailer is the champion of good service, from atta to electrical, the likes of which we haven’t yet seen any big retailer match, anywhere in the world. That’s another reason why he will always survive.

Before we fight further, consider this. This network of commercially-savvy supplychain linked small retailers is an invaluable asset: as one report said, they are not ‘unorganised’ by any stretch of imagination; we agree and have refrained from using this phrase in this article! It is unlikely that Indian jugaad will let this network disintegrate. Perhaps in rural India, where they would have been more hard hit had the big-box retailers been allowed, they would have been garnered by banks as new extension counters for financial inclusion.

economictimes.com: RAMA BIJAPURKAR INDEPENDENT MARKET STRATEGY CONSULTANT

Black Friday Sales Hits Record, Retail traffic and Foot-falls up.

Preliminary reports for Black Friday indicate that retailers may have seen their strongest sales ever during the all-important kick-off to the holiday shopping season.

black friday sales

Retail sales on Black Friday climbed 6.6% this year to an estimated $11.4 billion, according to ShopperTrak, which tracks foot traffic at malls and stores. Last year, sales climbed just 0.3% to $10.7 billion, which was a record one-day sales amount at the time, according to the company.

“This is the largest year-over-year gain in ShopperTrak’s National Retail Sales Estimate for Black Friday since the 8.3 percent increase we saw between 2007 and 2006,” said ShopperTrak founder Bill Martin. “Still, it’s just one day. It remains to be seen whether consumers will sustain this behavior through the holiday shopping season.”

However, sales have been strong throughout the entire month of November with retailers rolling out holiday deals earlier than ever. In the two weeks leading up to the week of Black Friday, retail sales were up 3.6% and 3.8%, respectively, ShopperTrak reported.

“Retailers continue to stretch out Black Friday weekend by enticing shoppers with doorbuster deals weeks in advance,” said Martin.

Online sales have also proven to be strong, with many big-box retailers and department stores offering deals online earlier this year.

Black Friday online sales surge 24%

Online sales were up 39.3% on Thanksgiving Day and 24.3% on Black Friday compared to the same days last year, according to IBM’s (IBM,Fortune 500) Coremetrics, which tracks real-time data from 500 retailers in the apparel, department store, health and beauty and home goods categories.

“This year marked Thanksgiving’s emergence as the first big spending day of the 2011 holiday season with a record number of consumers shifting their focus from turkey to tablets and the search for the best deals,” said John Squire, chief strategy officer at IBM’s Smarter Commerce division.

Consumers also spent slightly more than they did last year, although they spent most of that money on themselves. According to NPD Group consumers spent about 3% more on purchases during Black Friday. However, about 44% were self purchases up from 33% last year, the research group said.

Retail traffic on Black Friday up 2%

Total US visits to the top 500 Retail websites increased 2% on Black Friday as compared to 2010 and received more than 173 million US visits. Traffic has increased each day leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday and the total visits dipped slightly (-1%) on Black Friday compared Thanksgiving Day 2011. Early Black Friday sales resulted in a shift of online traffic, which climbed prior to the Thanksgiving holiday, however, continued heavy promotional activity helped to drive significant online traffic on both Thanksgiving and Black Friday. While Black Friday has been the top day for online retail traffic over the past two years, warm weather and early store openings encouraged shoppers to go online sooner this season.
DMS Retail 500 11-25-2011.png

Among the categories driving the growth in traffic on Black Friday were Department Stores (e.g. Amazon and Wal-Mart) Apparel & Accessories, Appliances & Electronics (e.g. Best Buy) and Video & Games (e.g. Game Stop).
DMS Retail Categories 11-25-2011.png

Below is a list of the top visited retail sites on Black Friday:
DMS Retail 500 Sites 11-25-2011.png

Many of the major retail websites experienced growth on Black Friday, including Amazon, Best Buy, JC Penney, Sears and Kohl’s. Amazon.com was the most visited website on Black Friday for the 7th year in a row.

100 Retailers in Shopping Centers Released

China Chain Store & Franchise Association (CCFA) convened the Conference on Cooperation, Development and Exchanges Between Commercial Real Estate Developers and Chain Retailers in Ningbo of China’s eastern Zhejiang Province on June 9 and released the book 100 Retailers in Shopping Centers.

CCFA has selected over 100 outstanding chain retailers from its members in various business formats, which have the ability to make expansion nationwide. The Association categorized them according to existing business formats and functions of shopping centers and offered information on different aspects of these brands, such as features of their image, traffic, expansion rate and development plan.
Some are international brands, some are famous brands in China and some are leading brands in regions, including department stores, supermarkets, home appliance stores and household stores and covering all business formats like apparel, fashion, catering, cosmetics, entertainment, education and service. These can meet the demands of commercial properties to attract investment from various stores and provide a wide variety of retailers for commercial real estate developers.
In addition to the information in it, the book has also given professional analysis and different views from experts of shopping centers on the industry’s current situation, trend, investment, financing, planning and design.
It is a great aid for commercial real estate companies to learn and attract investment of their shopping center programs.
Here are some comments by developers of shopping centers on the book:
It is quite useful! The book can give guidance on brand portfolio and combination of business formats and it is a professional reference for the management of shopping centers.
– Wanda Commercial Management
Shopping centers are drivers for creating a fashionable and prosperous city, while brands are the core competitiveness of shopping centers in the market. Best wishes to 100 Retailers in Shopping Centers.
-Sunshine100 Real Estate Group
The book has integrated resources and set up platform for information exchanges, a show of CCFA’s function and value. 100 retailers is the start and we are aiming at 1000.
-Powerlong Real Estate Holdings Limited
The book is an excellent reference to see clearly the essence and core value of shopping centers.
-Shopping Center Department of CR Vanguard
Reading the book will free you from the worries when you are developing shopping centers.
-COFCO Commercial Property Investment Co., Ltd.
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