DC Grocery Stores: Embrace the Sidewalk

by Will Smith

DC Grocery Stores: Embrace the Sidewalk

Greater Greater Washington recently wrote a post pointing out that many DC grocery stores are neglecting a practice that could increase sales as well as the curb appeal of their buildings: sidewalk produce displays. While grocery stores in cities like New York put produce displays facing onto the sidewalk, DC stores have empty, monolithic walls that don’t help promote the business. Note the Safeway in Dupont Circle versus the Fairway on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.


So why don’t DC stores utilize their sidewalks more? DC grocery chains like Safeway and Giant measure the performance of their stores based on a metric called “average receipts”, which is the average amount a customer spends per visit. If the stores drew more customers through their doors with enticing displays of fruits and vegetables, the thinking is that customers would likely buy more of those low-ticket items, thereby driving down the store’s average receipts.

This seems very short-sighted given that even if the average receipts dip, overall sales volume will increase. Not to mention the fact that once the customer is in the store there is a chance she will buy a second or third more expensive item, thereby offsetting the low price of the apple that brought her through the door.

There is hope for DC grocers, however. Notes Greater Greater Washington:

“It’s not all bad. Even these same chains are thinking more creatively on some of their new stores. The new Georgetown Safeway will engage the sidewalk much more than existing Safeways. My developer source says that some chains are open to adding sidewalk vending. If those outside-the-DC-box examples succeed, then our supermarket chains will learn to incorporate these elements in other stores in less-rich areas. As with many large businesses, however, these chains move and change slowly. We may well have to wait a long time for them to wake up to profit opportunities in urban areas.”

Read the full post at Greater Greater Washington.

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/dc_grocery_stores_embrace_the_sidewalk/492

1 Comment

  1. coistika said at 2:55 am on Tuesday February 3, 2009:

    I live in Providence, and when the weather is reasonable, almost every store does this. Even Borders will put some of its bestsellers out on the sidewalk.

Comments are closed.

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