“They’re a company who knows the market and executes quite well,” Kevin Griffin, publisher of the Griffin Report of Food Marketing in Duxbury, said of Market Basket.
Wegmans, a family-run chain based in New York, also is making inroads in Massachusetts. The company, known for its vast selection and fastidious attention to detail, operates a massive store in Northborough, has two more locations on the way — in Burlington and Chestnut Hill — and is scouting for other locations. While the Wegmans footprint is small here, it commands a zealous following. The Northborough opening in October of last year attracted a record-breaking 25,000 customers on a single day.
Officials at other supermarket chains said they are responding as best they can to shifts in consumer preferences with lower prices, higher quality food, and better service.
“Clearly, the increased fragmentation of the market is one of the biggest challenges facing the industry,” said Paul McGillivray, vice president of sales at Roche Bros. Supermarkets Inc., a family-owned chain with 18 Roche Bros. and Sudbury Farm stores in Massachusetts.
“Our business has been holding up good,” McGillivray said, and the Wellesley-based grocer is “always looking for opportunities” to expand. For now, however, it’s concentrating on keeping existing stores thriving.
According to Griffin, that’s a formidable challenge for any company that sells groceries. In coming years, he said, there will be no let up in the fierce battle for market share among food retailers.
“If anything, it’s going to get even more competitive,” Griffin said.
Jay Fitzgerald can be reached at email@example.com.