(NEW YORK) -- The typical supermarket contains 50,000 different products. Would you give up some of that selection for lower prices?
Millions of Americans are doing just that, at "limited assortment grocery stores." The best-known are Save-A-Lot, Aldi and Grocery Outlet. These stores are about half the size of a typical suburban supermarket. They are stocked with 95 percent store brands and only carry about 80 percent of the selection traditional stores do.
Shoppers probably won't find olive tapenade, brie cheese or basmati rice at one of these smaller stores, but they can find big savings.
Save-A-Lot only carries name-brand products when it can score a deep discount on them and pass the savings along to its customers as a special deal. Mostly you see shelves lined with unfamiliar store brands like Kurtz, Coburn and Portman's.
Other signs of a unique philosophy: a smaller meat department with fewer cuts, and products displayed on the palettes they came in. Some products are offered in one type and one size, so the store is not using a lot of shelf space to stock dozens of brands.
Save-A-Lot claims to save its customers as much as 40 percent with this formula, and retail analysts back up that number.
The concept is working for the stores, too. While traditional grocery sales are stagnant, revenue at limited assortment grocers Save-A-Lot, Aldi and Grocery Outlet is growing. In fact, all three chains plan to expand dramatically in the next couple of years.
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