My thoughts to this, as Twitter’s 140 characters do not suffice.
As someone who has worked on Consumer Packaged Goods market dynamics, I was always wondering at the play and positioning Dominick’s team had in the Chicago Market; my view of the typical Chicago shopping consumer was this:
- Jewel – A Chicago staple through longevity if nothing else; has tried to reinvigorate the brand through several marketing activities (loyalty card, collect stickers to get pots and pans, etc), but was mid-tier in terms of quality and pricing. Store locations were typically prime catchments which saved it
- Trader Joe’s – For those who want decent product at a decent price and didn’t want to pay Wholefood’s prices. Choices are limited.
- Wholefood’s – The top tier for organic produce; believes its’ prices are reasonable, but in reality, the majority don’t consider doing their weekly shop here as it’s too expensive.
- Aldi – Came in to market with a budget perspective; has slowly been changing consumer perceptions. Still has some work to do on brand image but product quality is definitely on the up
- Food4Less – And quality to match. Budget all the way
- Kroger – More of a south side / burbs thing; wants to be a Jewel but doesn’t have the brand presence or quality of store premesis
- Meijer – Target with more food choices
Which left Dominick’s; it tried to place itself in the upper-middle catchment – a notch above Jewel in terms of store premises quality, a fair balance of price and quality, but way below the high priced Wholefood’s. Unfortunately store placement seemed to be a barrier to entry, as did the perceived image (“I don’t shop there – it’s too expensive” heard many times). Almost every time I visited a Dominick’s store the footfall was low and so it seemed only a matter of time until the inevitable happened.
I guess Chicago and its’ circumstances (placement, economic) sealed the fate.