Market Basket’s Bad News Is Good News For Its Rivals

Empty shelves, upset customers, frazzled employees: sounds like a typical day at Market Basket since the employee protests began last week, right? But these are actually claims coming in from some shoppers and employees at Market Basket’s rival chains, which have seen their business improve as Market Basket refugees make their way into their unfamiliar aisles.

“It’s been very busy, very good for our company,” an employee at the West Peabody Hannaford told Boston.com.

Others who identified themselves as grocery chain employees on Twitter have been less diplomatic about the influx of displaced Market Basket shoppers:

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The Boston Business Journal wrote yesterday that rival supermarket chains will be the “likely winners” when all is said and done, and that Market Basket’s woes are “nothing but good news for the competition.” A marketing professor at Drexel University was on the scene of a Market Basket rally to gather information part for a case study, according to The Boston Globe. We may be studying this public relations disaster for years to come.

To prove they’re participating in the boycott, customers have been taking photos of their non-Market Basket receipts:

Then again, some stores don’t seem to be doing that much better than the empty-shelved Market Baskets their new shoppers left behind. Customers at chains like Hannaford, Shaw’s, and Stop & Shop have reported that the influx of customers has created more demand than supply:

For some Market Basket fanatics, the prospect of shopping somewhere else was frightening and sad:

Market Basket customers are fiercely loyal, but even that loyalty has limits. If they boycott the chain for long enough, they may not come back when (or if) that boycott ends.