Over the past 10 years, industry consolidation, new natural/organic concepts and paradigm-shifting consumer trends (e.g., local, health and wellness) have created a truly dynamic competitive environment in grocery retail.

To help our clients win in this new world, L.E.K. designs and activates strategies to drive meaningful and profitable sales growth and define the right store portfolio. Our expertise helps grocery stores mine shopper insights, evolve their store portfolios and concepts, critically analyze their branded and private-label assortments, and define the right omnichannel strategies.

Key questions and challenges

We have a deep understanding of the key grocery retail challenges in today’s marketplace. We work with our clients on everything from growth strategy to store experience and consumer engagement, sourcing, pricing and brand strategy (including private-label sourcing), and transaction support. During our work, we encourage our clients to consider these key questions:

  • Do you truly have an accurate view of the different consumer groups within the addressable market, and do you have a winning value proposition to delight customers?
  • How do you position yourself to capitalize on long-term consumption patterns and growing interest in local, health and wellness, and the many other trends shaping consumers’ purchasing behavior?
  • How do you better manage your store portfolio to maximize productivity?
  • Is an evolved, or entirely new, store format required to better serve your existing customers, improve current performance or realize new growth opportunities?
  • Is your assortment optimized to drive sales and profitability across branded and private-label products?
  • Is your store labor model tuned to effectively serve the consumer while maximizing efficiency through the use of innovative technologies?
  • What is your Edge Strategy® to effectively monetize and find growth in areas around your core business?
  • Do you have the right organizational talent to manage the successful activation of the strategies needed to drive growth?

Examples of our work

To learn more about how we help clients create value in the grocery sector, please refer to these insights and case examples:

  • A regional grocery chain was experiencing comp sales declines amid an increasingly competitive local market. We helped our client define a new natural and organic specialty store concept, critically review and change its assortment to be better aligned with consumer trends, and manage the execution of the strategy across its chain. The new concept dramatically improved customer satisfaction, and our execution support positioned the company for a successful turnaround on an expedited timeline.
  • Although a major convenience and gasoline retailer had a compelling strategic position in its core market with clear brand recognition and market share leadership in fuel sales, it had not materially invested in its stores in more than a decade and was substantially overreliant on in-store sales of tobacco and packaged beverages. We worked with the client to develop a new store concept and food strategy that drove a 50% increase in in-store transactions, with gross margins that were 100-200 basis points higher than in legacy stores.
  • A large national grocery chain was experiencing slow sales growth and uncertainty about which factors were causing underperformance. We performed a category diagnostic analysis and developed a detailed category management plan, which led to an immediate comp store increase and momentum in key categories that had stalled.
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