This article focuses on the need for change in the supermarket business. Toward the middle of the piece, Dan Mitchell draws attention to the combined forces of speciality stores and the value of Wal-Mart squeezing these retailers.
The interesting thing is that this phenomenon mirrors the “death of the middle.” described by Marc Andreesen in his blog about publishing on 25 Feb.
"The winners in these markets either offer the broadest breadth or the deepest depth. In evolving markets neither the broadest nor deepest is in trouble, but the middle market is withering."
It is indeed a worrying place to be and hard to move out of without alienating your core (if declining) market.
The shots are increasingly being called by consumers, who are looking for either lower prices or healthier choices -- and, in either case, more variety. As much as mid-market grocers like Safeway have to fend off competition from natural and specialty stores, the impact of Wal-Mart on the retail food industry should not be underestimated.