There was an interesting article in this Sunday’s Denver Post regarding Safeway’s push to reverse their steadily declining market share in Colorado. As you may have heard, last week Safeway announced that they were “slashing” their everyday prices on “thousands” of items in order to “help families that have been affected by the recession”…at least that is what any good PR rep will tell you. Clearly there are always more business driven reasons behind these decisions, but of course they can’t just come out and say that because it wouldn’t make us feel all warm and fuzzy inside! Safeway’s market share has dropped by 4.7% since 2001 in the Denver Metro area.
Currently, King Soopers, has 38.5% of the market share with 74 Stores, behind them comes Safeway with 19.6% of market share and 56 Stores…and creeping up ever so slowly behind them is Wal-Mart with 19.1% market share and just 21 stores. Wal-Mart only held a 2.1% market share back in 2001. I find it very interesting, but not surprising that Wal-Mart is growing in the grocery market. With their “Everyday Low Prices” most “non-coupon educated” shoppers will tell you they get the most bang for their buck at Wal-Mart. Well, I find this to not be the case, and here is why:
Sure Wal-Mart has Everyday Low Prices, but they very very rarely have “loss leading” promotions. Loss leaders are products that “High-Low” stores like King Soopers and Safeway use to draw shoppers to their stores. Often the prices are dropped so low that they are hardly covering cost, and sometimes they are even willing to take a loss on them. But it works out for them in the end when the Smith family decides to do all their week’s shopping at King Soopers because they have milk on sale for $1.67 or bread for .99. So what do these loss leaders mean to us couponers? Simply put, everything. Loss Leaders are how and why we do what we do! They are the items that we are able to get for free or for pennies on the dollar after coupons, not only just at the grocery store, but Walgreens and Rite Aid too. Now don’t get me wrong, there are still deals to be had at Wal-Mart, but in my opinion there are certainly not as many compared to King Soopers and Safeway. Sure, I’ve gotten a free item here and there from Wal-Mart, but never has there been an opportunity to walk out with over $100 in groceries paying five cents out of pocket like I’ve done at both Safeway and King Soopers in the past. “But wait a second, Wal-Mart price matches”, some will say…and yes that is right, but they will not price match Catalina promotions (those are the coupons that print out at the register) like Safeway’s Living Well which is infamous among us couponers! Safeway’s last Living Well promotion was last spring and in my house we are still eating from our stockpiled items that we got for free! These are the types of promotions that allow us to stock up big time on the items that we really need.
So, where am I going with all this? King Soopers and Walmart are both keeping an eye on what Safeway is doing, but lets hope that this will lead them in the direction that is in our best interest….Big Promotions and not more everyday low prices! So, now that I’m off my soap box, what do you think? Will Safeway’s new low prices cause you to think twice about where you’ll shop?
If you’re interested you can view the Denver Post article HERE.