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Milwaukee’s Small Business writes about how Fresh Brands Inc., which owns both Piggly Wiggly and Dick’s Supermarkets, is between a rock and a hard place – competing with Roundy’s highly effective Pick ‘n Save stores, Wal-Mart Supercenters, and upscale stores such as Sendik’s.

“That leaves Fresh Brands struggling to find a place in the local grocery hierarchy,” Small Business writes. “Unless it finds a way to distinguish itself from its competitors soon, the company will be doomed to join others that have flourished and then faded from the southeastern Wisconsin's grocery market - stores with names such as Kohl's, Red Owl, Sentry, A&P and Kroger's.”

The story suggests that while Fresh Brands has closed unproductive stores and cut prices, with company president/COO Louis Stinebaugh saying that the slashing of prices has managed to build traffic and sales to hoped-for levels. Still, some analysts suggest that Fresh Brands need to look for a bigger company that can acquire it and give it additional buying heft when dealing with manufacturers.
KC's View:
The problem for Fresh Brands – as it is for companies like Winn-Dixie and A&P – is that cutting prices and eliminating stores does nothing to create a solid brand image in the mind of the consumer. It doesn’t give shoppers a reason to choose its stores over the competition.

Unless Fresh Brands can establish exactly why people should shop there (and please, let’s not depend on trite phrases an d sentiments like “one stop shopping” and “better customer service”), the problems will persists and fester.