WinCo may be the little grocery chain that retail behemoth Walmart has never heard of, but retail analysts say that Walmart has much to be fearful of.
NEW YORK – TIME.com reports that retail analysts say the world’s biggest retailer “has reason to fear a small grocery chain that’s based in Idaho and boasts a business model that allows it to undercut Walmart on prices.”
TIME is talking about WinCo, a Boise-based grocery store with a handful of stores in the West. It’s a privately held enterprise “that seems to take its privacy seriously, preferring a low-key, low-profile approach—which is extremely rare in a world of retailers boisterously begging for shoppers’ attention.”
The Idaho Statesman recently wrote about WinCo, calling it a retail model that’s setting a new grocery industry standard. Retail analyst Burt Flickinger III told the newspaper “WinCo arguably may be the best retailer in the Western U.S.,” adding, “They’re Walmart’s worst nightmare.”
Jon Hauptman, a partner at Willard Bishop, told the news source that WinCo “communicates low prices by delivering low prices,” adding that the grocer “convinces shoppers of value based on the shopping experience, rather than relying on smoke and mirrors to convince them.”
WinCo is able to keep prices low through a variety of strategies, notes TIME, often by cutting out distributors and other middlemen in favor of buying goods directly from farms and factories. The stores don’t accept credit cards and customers bag their own groceries. The stores are well organized and offer a “tremendous variety of merchandise that’s become standard at most supermarkets,” notes the news source.
TIME continues: “Generally speaking, shoppers tolerate Walmart’s empty shelves and subpar customer service because the prices are so good. The fact that another retailer — even a small regional one — is able to compete and sometimes beat Walmart on prices, while also operating well-organized stores staffed by workers who enjoy their jobs, like their employer, and genuinely want the company to be successful? Well, that’s got to alarm the world’s biggest retailer, if not keep executives up at night.”