Letter from SVP Special projects

Compete for Growth

In this issue of COMPETE, we discuss growth across our business. Growth is the catalyst of success for our members. Strong top line sales do more for our bottom line and allow for the absorption of many ever-increasing cost factors at retail. Now that the supply chain is more stable and the COVID surge seems like a distant memory, retailers are asking, “How do we maintain the growth of our business?”

The supply chain constraints from COVID and the subsequent inflation gave us a false sense of security. Although a large percent of independent retailers were up in top-line sales, when inflation is factored in, retailers may actually be even or down in comparable case sales. Many of the non-product operating cost increases seen at retail like labor, supplies, and higher service and maintenance costs, will likely not subside if cost deflation causes retail pricing to slide backward. As a result, the same amount of effort to produce sales today will result in lower top line sales and bottom-line profit in the future.

So how do we combat this? We focus on growth. At AWG, we are working diligently to grow the co-op to benefit all members. Whether we are growing by adding new stores to our existing divisions, growing our distribution footprint, growth is good for all. Recent automation in our facilities will help us be more efficient and grow our item variety and service level. So please talk to your peers who are not currently an AWG member and tell them the benefits of your co-op and help us grow together!

What can retailers do to partner with AWG for growth? Here are just a few examples and some are highlighted in detail in this issue:

  • Leverage DSG and store engineering to grow your brand image with a remodel, store refresh or re-lamping.
  • Grow your sales and price image with our amazing AWG Brands portfolio. We continue to add new and exciting items and line extensions with a best-in-class program geared to the growth of our membership.
  • We are working hard to grow our position with our vendor partners through Convergence. This leverages our retail members as a $24 billion retail juggernaut with continual year-over-year growth. We are negotiating for the overall best cost of goods and product supply to compete and grow your market share. This happens when we all work together and leverage our data to prove our position in the marketplace.
  • Grow your fresh offerings with innovation and meals solutions like deli meal kits, pre-sliced deli meats and cheese, and taking advantage of the gourmet cheese and charcuterie trends.
  • In produce, expand cut fruit and vegetables sections. Try a few more organic offerings or give floral variety a seasonal re-fresh for growth and new sales opportunities.
  • Growth may be new store construction or acquisition of existing stores. Work with the AWG business development and divisional teams to do market studies and business planning to grow your business.
  • In the meat department, growth can be obtained through supplemental pre-packaged meat and grinds being made available to complement your existing meat program. This gives your customers an option to purchase items with extended shelf life or unique attributes like grass-fed beef or pre-seasoned pork.
  • Grow pharmacy sales by having adequate stock levels of new, revolutionary, high volume weight loss drugs. Order flu and pneumonia vaccines early to have availability for customers during high demand.
  • Leverage retail technology to grow your sales with a renewed push on digital coupons or scan-and-go technology. Or is it time to initiate a much-needed website redesign? Let our sales and services teams assist in checking these ideas off your to-do list.

Whether it’s getting back to old fashioned best practices abandoned during COVID or taking an innovative approach to sales, growth is good. Convincing customers to purchase even one additional item is growth. With intentional selling practices and concentrated focus, growth will happen at your store, and will keep customers from going down the street to your competitor’s store.

“Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely.”
- Karen Kaiser Clark

Good selling and let’s grow together!

James Neumann, SVP Special projects


Unlocking Growth Potential:

Self-scanning mobile checkout, also known as scan-and-go, has the potential to create substantial growth opportunities for retailers. Here are a few ways in which it can drive growth while, at the same time, address labor shortage issues.


Top Trends in Meat and Opportunities for Growth

it is important to understand how to maintain and continue growth in the protein landscape.  Let’s look at some of the trends that are happening as we are building sales leading into the back half of the year.

AWG Programs


Sustain Your Growth through Maintaining your Equipment 

The world of grocery store equipment has significantly changed over the past few years.  We have seen dramatic increases in shipping time and a decrease in availability of items.


Crossroads to Growth

Transition planning, or succession planning as it is often called, is commonly associated with the idea of transitioning out of the business by one means or another.  Truth be told it can also be the key to growth.

The reality is, we as humans have a life cycle.  If all goes well, it is predictable and over time our energy and interests in our business wain.  Of course, unexpectedly our option to continue can be lost. Let’s talk about both as they relate to growth.

In a situation where there is one leader and no successor, the decision to continue to grow past some ill-defined point can certainly be risky.  If I am 80 years old, is it actually responsible for me to buy another store?  

But in the case of many of our growth partners here at AWG, there isn’t a singular person at the lead and the energy and excitement to grow isn’t limited to one person.  With the confidence that their organization is bigger than themselves, a grocer might be actively looking for growth opportunities at a time in life when most would be logical candidates to sell rather than buy.

A variation on this theme is another successful AWG growth partner.  The following two situations are actual member stories and their outcomes.