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Author Topic: Shrinking grocery store inventory  (Read 2305 times)

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Offline CarolinaJoe

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Shrinking grocery store inventory
« on: September 19, 2012, 04:13:13 PM »
Has anyone else noticed a reduction in grocery store inventory or is this just local to my area?

Shelves that used to hold two layers of canned goods now hold only one. 

Shelves that could only ever hold one layer of a product are no longer stocked all the way to the back - leaving the back empty.

There are also fewer displays in isles.  – This actually makes shopping easier as it leaves more room for me to wiggle around distracted shoppers.

I assume all this has been done to save on inventory costs, but it is still a bit disconcerting.  This is the land of plenty, and while there still seems to be enough to eat, the shelves no longer contain as much as they used to.

Makes me nervous.  Heh heh

Offline Ken

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Re: Shrinking grocery store inventory
« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2012, 05:15:57 PM »
Yeah, it's pretty much happening all over.

The price of fuel and some of the newer government regulation.

There are around 300 drugs also running short. (thank you Frank/Dodd)

But more and more factories are running too close to just-in-time parameters.  The drought isn't helping the food shortage.
“If mankind is to survive, then throughout man’s history except for a very few years the word “ship” will mean “space ship.”
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Offline BooMushroom

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Re: Shrinking grocery store inventory
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2012, 06:15:11 PM »
Yeah, it's pretty much happening all over.

The price of fuel and some of the newer government regulation.

There are around 300 drugs also running short. (thank you Frank/Dodd)

But more and more factories are running too close to just-in-time parameters.  The drought isn't helping the food shortage.

How much space is there between "just in time" and "not quite in time?"  72 hours?

Offline Ken

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Re: Shrinking grocery store inventory
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2012, 06:53:16 PM »
How much space is there between "just in time" and "not quite in time?"  72 hours?

For most Grocery's, that's about right.
“If mankind is to survive, then throughout man’s history except for a very few years the word “ship” will mean “space ship.”
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Offline BooMushroom

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Re: Shrinking grocery store inventory
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2012, 06:57:50 PM »
Has anyone else noticed a reduction in grocery store inventory or is this just local to my area?

Shelves that used to hold two layers of canned goods now hold only one. 

Shelves that could only ever hold one layer of a product are no longer stocked all the way to the back - leaving the back empty.

There are also fewer displays in isles.  – This actually makes shopping easier as it leaves more room for me to wiggle around distracted shoppers.

I assume all this has been done to save on inventory costs, but it is still a bit disconcerting.  This is the land of plenty, and while there still seems to be enough to eat, the shelves no longer contain as much as they used to.

Makes me nervous.  Heh heh

Actually, I have something of value to contribute to this, other than my usual jaded sarcasm.

When I was a manager for a retail store (before they laid me off after 12 years, but that's not important) the amount of inventory on hand was not measured so much on actual dollars worth of merchandise, but on "weeks on hand," which is to say, how many weeks worth of sales is the merchandise worth.

So if your store had an average of $20,000 worth of sales per day, and you had $980,000 worth of merchandise on the shelves and the stockroom, then your WOH (weeks on hand) was 7 (20,000 * 7 days * 7 weeks = $980,000).

If your sales fell to $15,000 per day, then you would have to lower your stock on hand to $735,000 to keep the same WOH.

In a Great Depression II, I imagine that accounting, all the way up to the CFO, would want to decrease the WOH as well, especially for retailers who are borrowing money for their daily operations.  So simply decreasing the WOH from 7 to 6, with the lower sales, would reduce the inventory from the $735,000 to $630,000.

So if your sales are down by 25%, and you lower your WOH from 7 to 6, that would decrease your on-hand stock from $980k to $630k, a reduction of more than a third.  Put on top of that inflation of 5%(shadowstats.com says 10%), which means that each item of the shelf costs more dollars per item, and you're darn near to 40% fewer items on the shelf.  So where there used to be 10 cans, you would see six.  If sales are down more than 25% in a particular store, or the reduction in WOH is more than 1/7 for the chain, it may be more.

You will probably start to notice soon that your store will begin eliminating less popular items, especially those that sell less than one unit per quarter.  The way that happens is that when it sells, they simply remove the sticker on the shelf, and make the item next to it fill the hole.  When this is done enough, the next step is to eliminate the number of shelves on the aisle, and/or increase the space between shelves.  That way they can continue to stock quantities of the most popular items.

Offline Bill Quick

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Re: Shrinking grocery store inventory
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2012, 11:37:59 PM »
I'm noticing also an increasing move to product shrinkage.  A "standard grocery store pound" now seems to be 13.25 ounces, for instance.
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Offline Mr. Bingley

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Re: Shrinking grocery store inventory
« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2012, 06:25:14 AM »
yep, that's all over the place, too Bill.

and it really messes up some recipes when your '15 oz' can is only 12.7

Offline CarolinaJoe

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Re: Shrinking grocery store inventory
« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2012, 10:10:23 AM »
Dang it all,  I suppose it's a sign of the times.  -Kinda puts a damper on my hopes for the future.  Ah, malaise.

Thank you BooMushroom for the insight. :)

I've also noticed the packages with less in them for the same or a higher price.  Sadly, I don't think it's going to get better anytime soon.


Offline Amisheggpicker

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Re: Shrinking grocery store inventory
« Reply #8 on: September 25, 2012, 07:27:16 PM »
Since we produce the majority of our food, I don't buy a lot of groceries, BUT...since I also work right next door to a relatively large grocery store, I walk over their most every day...mostly buy a pack of gum etc..and just to get fresh air and some exercise...and sometimes a cup of soup...my company employees a fairly large amount of employees and this grocery store caters to us at break times...how cool is that?

After reading these posts, and since they had bags of vegetables 10 bags for 10 dollars, (great for dehydrating) I decided to check out the shelves and the frozen section...by golly, it's just as you folks have said...the product is in front and behind them might be one or two others, but then just empty space....wow...

They say that a store only has a 3 day supply for it's area...after looking at this situation....there is no way a 3 day supply....a rush on this store would deplete it's stock in a very quick amount of time...

Don't depend on your local store folks....be a good prepper and be ready NOW
Proverbs 21:20  In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil,

but a foolish man devours all he has.

Online Drang

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Re: Shrinking grocery store inventory
« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2012, 08:08:58 PM »
Mrs. Drang tells me she has noticed that much if not most of the stuff on the shelves is very close to it's pull date, too.  She was especially concerned about not being able to find a carton of milk more than 4 days from it's sell by date.
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Offline Amisheggpicker

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Re: Shrinking grocery store inventory
« Reply #10 on: September 25, 2012, 08:52:21 PM »
I'm with her...and milk is one thing that you can't fudge on the sell by date...I do NOT like milk that is even close to it...it goes bad quickly....one thing we do to beat this problem is to buy 6 to seven quarts size jugs at a time...one is put in the refrigerator and then we pour about an inch off the others (saving this milk of course) and freeze them. When the kids were home, we bought it this way but in GALLON jug size..hahahah! If per chance the electric would go down, we would then can the milk up, with a pressure canner....(I know it's not recommended by the canning gods, but that doesn't mean it's not safe...they just haven't tested it yet)
Proverbs 21:20  In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil,

but a foolish man devours all he has.

Online Drang

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Re: Shrinking grocery store inventory
« Reply #11 on: September 25, 2012, 09:48:34 PM »
I've started drinking rice or almond* milk instead of actual moo juice, and those are available in cases which don't need to be refrigerated, so we may be stocking up on that.


*Don't care for the taste of soy milk.  Rice milk has no taste, almond tastes better.  However, Costco does not carry the cases of almond milk, like they do of rice milk.
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Offline jc

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Re: Shrinking grocery store inventory
« Reply #12 on: September 27, 2012, 06:16:54 PM »
the 3 day inventory thing is why I bought #10 cans and 5 cases of MRE's. Add weather to the issue of things not being stocked that deep, and stuff could run out in 2. :o
JC

Offline CarolinaJoe

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Re: Shrinking grocery store inventory
« Reply #13 on: December 28, 2012, 05:08:17 PM »
An update from my small town in NC

The inventory reduction continues-  Some end displays now only carry one row of a product with nothing behind them.

They have raised the bottom grates in the freezer chests so they now hold about half of what they used to just a couple years ago.

Product size also continues to decrease.  - 11oz cans are now replacing the 15oz cans in the vegtable section.

I've also noticed new signs in store windows saying they accept EBT food stamp cards.

I know it's a silly idea, but I now wish I had taken photos years ago in these shops for comparison purposes. lol  

--------------

Edit - Wanted to add this - I will driving around the region soon, a little sightseeing, and I will check the shops to see if this is happening elsewhere.

First destination is Black Mountain, NC - the setting for the book One Second After.  :) It will be interesting to visit a place I've read about and imagined.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2012, 05:17:18 PM by CarolinaJoe »

Offline xtron

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Re: Shrinking grocery store inventory
« Reply #14 on: December 28, 2012, 05:49:12 PM »
k..get ready....looks like we are going over the cliff....

and because of some depression era law requiring the .gov to support milk prices by buying lots of milk that will NOT get "temporarily" suspended....milk may go to $6/gal.....

if you have room in your freezer, you may want to buy several gallons at todays price and freeze it. 
BTW...if you freeze milk that is approching it's sell by date, it will still be good 2, 4, 6 weeks later.  if you are freezing whole milk, after it's thawed, there will be yellow chunks of butter fat floating in it....shake well and it tastes as good as the day it was bought.

Offline Langenator

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Re: Shrinking grocery store inventory
« Reply #15 on: December 28, 2012, 08:48:34 PM »
And to say nothing of disappearing gun store inventory...local gun store is apparently down to about 400 guns in stock, from a normal level of about 1500.

Owner says he hopes to get his stock level back to normal by summer.  :o

That assumes nothing happens with Feinstein's bill or anything similar.

And yeah, I noticed that sugar now comes in 4 lb bags instead of 5.

If they take my beers down to 10 oz, they'll be problems.
Fortuna Fortis Paratus
“In the house of a wise man are stores of food, wine, and oil, but the foolish man devours all he has.” Proverbs 21:20
"We are content with discord, we are content with alarms, we are content with blood, but we will never be content with a master." -Pashtun malik, 1815

Offline ND Martin

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Re: Shrinking grocery store inventory
« Reply #16 on: December 28, 2012, 09:30:02 PM »
And AMMO!  Ammunition inventories are down 93% since the election.

Seems we're running short of everything except fools in Congress.


Offline Flight-ER-Doc

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Re: Shrinking grocery store inventory
« Reply #17 on: December 29, 2012, 06:39:21 AM »
And HK G3 magazines, which used to be $0.99 each (like two months ago) are now out of stock, at a price of $59.00.


Almost makes it worth selling a few of mine....They're still in the box from CTD.
Yes, I'm a physician.  No, I'm not YOUR physician.  Nothing I say here is medical advice.

Do I treat Glocks like I treat my lawn mowers?  No, I treat them worse.  I treat my defensive weapons like my fire extinguishers and smoke detector - annual maintenance and I expect them to work when needed

Offline Bill Quick

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Re: Shrinking grocery store inventory
« Reply #18 on: December 29, 2012, 12:42:49 PM »
U.S. Citizen at Traction Control is also running a gun buy-back program at $300 per weapon.  Much better deal than the government horse hockey, if you have working firearms you want to unload and the price makes sense to you.

http://tractioncontrol.well-regulatedmilitia.org/
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Offline xtron

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Re: Shrinking grocery store inventory
« Reply #19 on: December 29, 2012, 02:42:23 PM »
even shotgun shells are getting scarce...had to settle for 7 1/2 steel target shells (12 gauge)
today. they were sold out of everything else. 
good thing i know how to do cut shells.

Offline Haverwilde

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Re: Shrinking grocery store inventory
« Reply #20 on: December 29, 2012, 03:06:24 PM »
Regarding MilK and 'use by dates'

The stores here are served by barge lines out of Seattle. So the extra days 'in transit' makes milk an iffy proposition. The stores have moved to include super-pastuerized milk which extends the pull date by a month or two. In addition, there is occassionally boxed milk that has an even longer shelf life. All of that adds to the expense, but I try to keep a small supply of nearly fresh milk on hand, in addition to the boxes of powdered milk.
Diabolus fecit, ut id facerem!

Offline Ken

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Re: Shrinking grocery store inventory
« Reply #21 on: December 29, 2012, 04:57:48 PM »
Yeah, I think it's generally a good idea for some dried milk, to be on hand, just-in-case

but it doesn't really hurt, if it tastes good, so I recommend trying out some Nestle Nido-brand or Peak Dry Whole Milk.  Amazon has both.

Tastes better if mixed in a mixer, with some ice, and some like to add vanilla.
“If mankind is to survive, then throughout man’s history except for a very few years the word “ship” will mean “space ship.”
Arthur C. Clarke

Offline CarolinaJoe

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Re: Shrinking grocery store inventory
« Reply #22 on: December 31, 2012, 10:11:18 AM »
heh heh - I did actually order some of that milk.  :)

Well, I've finally gotten to Black Mountain, NC and they seem to also have limited inventory, but it isn't nearly as bad as in my town.  Additionally, they seem to like canned goods a bit more there as the canned veggie isle was larger and more heavily stocked as was the canned meat secton.  They had a good variety of SPAM products. :)  doubleplusgood.

I gotta say, Black Mountain, NC is pretty nice.  Snow covered peaks in the distance and great downtown with all kinds of neat shops and such.  - Roads are a bit narrow though. - If my next job allows me to work remote, I might be tempted to move there. :) - My current small town is nice, but I do like the mountain setting.

Offline Paul

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Re: Shrinking grocery store inventory
« Reply #23 on: December 31, 2012, 08:06:51 PM »
Re. shrinking inventory:  I suspect this may have more to do with the individual store/chain than anything else.  We went to two stores today, Hannaford and Price Chopper.  Both stores are part of good size retail chains.  I looked around fairly carefully and did not see any evidence of a thin inventory.  Were supplies to be cut off I am sure the shelves in any store would be emptied in a heartbeat, but that is just human nature. 
While we were at the store, we did pick up a little over $75 in canned goods.  A lot of that was Carnation condensed milk - my wife uses it in her coffee and there was a sale today of $1 a can, normally it runs $1.59.  We are not into extreme couponing or any of that, but if we see something on sale that we will be purchasing anyway, it only makes sense to load up when we have the opportunity.  (At least it beats the 1% the banks pay nowdays.)   

Offline Langenator

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Re: Shrinking grocery store inventory
« Reply #24 on: December 31, 2012, 09:58:50 PM »
Yeah, that reminds me...I need to move some $$ I don't plan on using anytime soon from savings into maybe a 2-yr CD...maybe go from 0.7% to 1.2%.

If a Republican were president, we'd be hearing about Ben Bernanke's "War on Seniors" constantly.
Fortuna Fortis Paratus
“In the house of a wise man are stores of food, wine, and oil, but the foolish man devours all he has.” Proverbs 21:20
"We are content with discord, we are content with alarms, we are content with blood, but we will never be content with a master." -Pashtun malik, 1815


 

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