Supermarkets find that small is more attractive

The latest weapons being employed in the retail commerce sector to cut costs as well as to respond to changing consumer demands resulting from the country?s ongoing economic crisis are stocking fewer products on supermarket shelves, offering goods in smaller or cheaper packages and cutting the number of branches they operate.

It?s not that supermarkets have suddenly discovered that small is beautiful, but rather that small is more attractive — and doesn?t scare customers away.

Nielsen research data show that supermarket sales volumes in the first half of the year declined by 5 percent on an annual basis, amounting to 4.15 billion euros against 4.37 billion in the January-June 2011 period.

Notably, the decline at hypermarkets has been even greater as market professionals estimate it at over 10 percent because consumers are turning to medium-sized and smaller stores instead. The reason is that these larger stores are not usually located in residential areas and generally require more time and fuel for shoppers to reach them, while their well-stocked shelves are seen as a temptation for consumers who wish to stick to the essential items on their shopping lists.

With the above in mind, a number of major chains have been opening small neighborhood branches in a bid to win over consumers. Consumer traffic at the 256 Carrefour Express stores has already grown considerably, according to company officials.

AB Vassilopoulos has also started getting more involved in this end of the market, with AB Shop

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