business news in context, analysis with attitude

In the new edition of Facts, Figures and the Future, FMI’s Michael Sansolo talks about the limitations of statistics:

“A wonderful example of this can be found in FMI's new study of supermarket pharmacies. The report offers a wealth of statistics detailing the challenges and benchmarks of today's pharmacy operation. However it is the accompanying essays written by industry experts that make clear the more complex issues and opportunities in this very important part of the store. You need both to see the whole picture.”

Sansolo writes that statistics and benchmarks point to the challenges facing in-store pharmacies in the form of new competition, as well as government and insurance regulations – all of which combine to threaten the constant and impressive growth traditionally provided by pharmacies.

“Yet a very different picture emerges in the short series of essays at the end of the report,” Sansolo writes, emphasizing that statistics are of limited use without context. “The essays, written by retail industry leaders, put the issues of pharmacy into perspective well beyond what numbers can tell us. One of these experts writes about the changing demographics of America and the impact of the enormous Baby Boom generation.

“Even more importantly, another essayist writes about the staggering opportunity that supermarkets could find in their pharmacies if we find a way of combining all the attributes of our stores into a new solution for shoppers. Pharmacies and food can work together to help shoppers deal with their ever increasing nutritional needs and their desire to somehow eat and live healthier.

“It's not a simple picture, nor is it a simple solution, but it's a scenario that could change the way we look at pharmacies and, more importantly, how our shoppers look at our pharmacies and our stores. It moves us beyond the simple numbers and into examining the full impact departments in the store can have on the shoppers we need to serve and win over daily.”

In other stories in the new edition of F3:

• A look at the ongoing evolution of the freestanding insert business, which is dealing with the reduced redemption of coupons, despite the increased use of FSIs as a method of coupon distribution. However, it may not just be consumers creating these reduced redemption rates – it also may be how marketers are executing their coupon programs.

• A report on America’s increasingly ethnic palate. “The melting pot that is America has had a natural effect on the menu preferences of American kids - and choices being made by young Americans have obvious implications on the grocery purchase behavior of American adults,” F3 writes, in a report that spotlights where the opportunities are.

• “A new survey from sheds new light on the problems associated with childhood obesity. Adults living in households with one or more teens were invited to offer their opinions on a wide spectrum of issues revolving around the food-related behavior of their offspring. The results reveal a huge variance in the way teenage boys and girls perceive themselves, and their concern with their eating habits and overall health issues.”

And, there’s a report on how self-checkout systems score with male shoppers, and on how a Massachusetts grocery store is using consumers’ cell phones to connect them to the store’s frequent shopper program…

And much more.

To get your copy, go to:

F3 is a joint production of the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), ACNielsen, and Phil Lempert.

(Full disclosure: MNB Content Guy Kevin Coupe is a contributor to F3.)
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