In a year that many have labeled as disruptive, retailers large and small in 2017 have worked to develop new initiatives that serve to further merge store and e-commerce operations while also meeting the ever-changing needs of a more fickle and educated consumer base.
While some retailers have struggled to meet current-day challenges, others have taken positive steps forward to establish foundations upon which they hope to boost sales and gain market share in 2018.
HomeWorld’s first annual Retailers to Watch, in the November 6 issue, looks at eight retailers from various channels making big moves to reinforce their futures. Selected by the HomeWorld editorial staff, each of the retailers chosen are taking aim at top-level sales growth in the year ahead with housewares and home at the forefront of their growth strategies.
Total Stores: 350 (as of Q2 FY2017)
2016 Total Sales (in millions): $22,505
2016 Total Housewares Sales (in millions): $261
OVERVIEW: Often recognized as one of the best supermarket chains in the U.S., H.E.B. operates just over 330 stores as well as about 56 in Mexico.
The San Antonio-based company continually touts its Lone Star credentials, even when it discusses store formats. At H.E.B. Plus! stores, which expand non-foods categories, H.E.B. said it intends to properly outfit Texas families with everything they might need to enjoy Lone Star lifestyles, from the coolers emblazoned with the paraphernalia of shoppers’ favorite Texas teams to smokers for the preparation of brisket. Indeed, H.E.B. Plus! is a one‑stop for electronics, toys, housewares, grilling and outdoor, party supplies, apparel and other products for Texas living.
WHAT TO WATCH: Privately held H.E.B. thrives on Lone Star authenticity and continues to invest in Texas, building stores despite facing competition ranging from other supermarket chains including Austin, TX, based Amazon.com subsidiary Whole Foods, to warehouse clubs and supercenters. The company recently opened an H.E.B. Plus store in Hutto, TX, north of Austin, expanding a format that provides an advanced range of home merchandise. H.E.B. also has been opening supermarkets in the Texas towns of Killeen, Spring, San Angelo and San Antonio.
As it has grown, H.E.B. has identified employees as an asset that rates investment. H.E.B. today is the largest privately held employer in Texas. The company offers a partner stock plan for employees.
H.E.B. has found still more ways to invest in Texas and engage consumers. For example, the company recently ran the H.E.B’s Primo Picks Quest for Texas Best contest, which offered five winning product developers cash prizes and space on the company’s store shelves. It also has been providing startup funds with other key employers to create a network of industry‑led, career‑themed high schools designated the Centers for Applied Science and Technology.
In such endeavors, H.E.B. is reinforcing its commitment to Texas residents and traditions, one that may well help it continue winning customers, particularly younger authenticity embracing consumers who will be its next generation of shoppers.
2018 Retailers To Watch (click on name for profile)