Retail Rat Race: Sanger’s after Sears

Sears, Roebuck, a powerhouse among retailers, is the frontrunner in department store exposure in the Dallas “metro” area – with Sanger-Harris making a spirited challenge and J.C. Penney, once in second position, now in third and just barely swimming in place.

The leading drug merchandiser is Skillern’s, but Dallas area residents give second-place Ward’s the upper hand on prices and also look with unusual favor on the also-ran’s brand selections as compared with the market leader’s.

Among grocery chains, Safeway dominates the Dallas market in terms of exposure. The company leads in the $15,000-to-$24,999 income category, but is evenly distributed in its appeal to all income groups. At Tom Thumb stores, high-income residents ($25,000 and up) predominate, and more low income residents shop with Affiliated Food Stores than any other chain.

These are findings available from a market study by Tracy-Locke’s MARC research affiliate for the Dallas Times Herald and research director Ken Brown. The key question, usually put to about a thousand representative consumers every three months, is whether they have visited a certain chain’s stores in the past four weeks (two weeks for drug stores).

Brown, a former Chicago-based ad salesman for the Wall Street Journal, is an ambitious young Times Herald employee intent on building the MARC survey into the definitive reading on, among many things, Dallas retail preferences.

Other findings:

Neiman-Marcus’s exposure rating in the high-income market has dropped from 44.4 per cent two years ago to 34.3 per cent, although the percentage of the company’s customers who fall in that range has nearly doubled, to 34.3 percent.

Of the top four grocery store chains, Safeway is the most stable in terms of recent consumer exposure, Tom Thumb the fastest gainer, Kroger’s the biggest loser and Minyard the most erratic.

Among the top drug chains,Page registered the sharpest gain in exposure – from3.7 per cent to 9.2 per cent- during the past year.Gibson’s showed the sharpest decline, from 6.2 percent to 3.6 per cent.


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