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Forbes has an excellent profile of Wegmans Food Markets, which it concludes is thriving (with sales up $3.3 billion this year, up nine percent) even in a Wal-Mart dominated world because of a clear vision of what it is.

"The Wegmans formula is not pile-it-high-sell-it-cheap retailing but a search for a sweet spot between price and quality," the magazine writes. "Inside the stores chefs in white hats sauté scrod under a hammered-copper stove hood. Lanterns and canopied window shutters lend to a display of artisan breads the feel of a Parisian open-air market. Wegmans' largest stores average $950,000 a week in sales, compared with a national average of $360,000. While bigger grocers, including Safeway and Albertsons, are exiting markets, Wegmans is moving into suburban Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington."

Also contributing to Wegmans' success: a willingness to educate the consumer about the products and services it offers, a "nearly telepathic" customer service level, and a relentless discipline about pricing and efficiency.

Good piece, worth reading.
KC's View:
Here's the thing that differentiates Wegmans from so many other retailers, and the thing that keeps it healthy in the face of tough competition.

Wegmans knows what it is. It does what it does. And it offers itself to customers, and expects that customers will come to it. But it will not change what it is in search of new customers, because that would sabotage the philosophy and strategy that got it this far.