New Publix Format to Focus on Latinos

Discussion
Feb 18, 2005
George Anderson

By George Anderson

With its home base in Florida, Publix knows something about what Latino shoppers want. The supermarket chain intends to put that knowledge to work in a new as yet unnamed format catering to Spanish-speakers and other Latinos in its market.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, Publix is expected to announce next month that it will convert at least one of its existing stores into the new format. Last month, it announced the planned rollout of a store-brand line of Hispanic foods later in the year.

While not confirming the Sentinel’s story, Publix spokesperson Dwaine Stevens said, “Our strategy is to localize stores in heavily Hispanic or other ethnic areas. Doing something like this (new format) would be consistent with our strategy.”

An example of this strategy is evident at a Publix in West Palm Beach where a store there operates a Cuban-coffee kiosk with café con leche and a selection of Cuban pastries. Other locations have taken products from a stand-alone Hispanic foods section and incorporated them into mainline sets throughout the store.

When Publix does open its Hispanic format, it won’t be alone in targeting this consumer base. Neighborhood bodegas and chain stores such as Bravo are already catering to the local Latino populations.

Moderator’s Comment: Will Publix succeed with a Hispanic market where others have failed? What will determine whether it succeeds or not?
– George Anderson – Moderator

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4 Comments on "New Publix Format to Focus on Latinos"


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Lewis Jones, Jr.
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Lewis Jones, Jr.
15 years 9 months ago

As a shareholder, I am very happy to see Publix pursue this customer base more aggressively. The above comment about many Latin families already shopping at Publix is true, and affirms the fact that a traditional grocer can compete, and even co-exist with the neighborhood mercado. Publix has Spanish speaking stores, and has Spanish television, radio and print marketing that spans back plenty of years. By many measures, this could be an easy stretch.

The loyalty of numerous key Hispanic associates who have been working at Publix for years, and have advanced into top levels of management will also increase credibility for this market, targeting the fastest growing population segment in the state.

I’m confident Publix has done many years of homework on location and product mix. The result will be a celebration of a merchant and customer base that has simply shared mutual success for many years now, and is strengthening the close relationship even further.

M. Jericho Banks PhD
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M. Jericho Banks PhD
15 years 9 months ago

In Florida, of course, the audience for a Hispanic market will be Cubanos most of all. Publix has spent years studying this segment, and no doubt will provide the right products at the right prices in the appropriate environment.

But, let’s take a couple of things into account: First, Publix is the largest seller of groceries to Cubans in Florida, so they already have a considerable portion of the market. Second, Florida – especially Southern Florida – has taken on a distinctive Cuban flavor that is embraced by many non-Hispanic Floridians. So, as with Houstonians shopping at Fiesta, people of all races will be interested in shopping in a well-done, Latino-focused shopping format in Florida.

Here’s the caution to Publix: Don’t make your Latino Format so extreme and so different that you lose Hispanics who like regular Publix stores, and also lose non-Hispanics who enjoy the experience of shopping in such a store but who do not speak Spanish.

David Livingston
Guest
15 years 9 months ago

Asking if Publix will succeed is like asking if Secretariat will win the Belmont. The question is not if they will succeed but rather by how much? Publix doesn’t always bat 1.000 but odds are they will find a away.

Stephan Kouzomis
Guest
Stephan Kouzomis
15 years 9 months ago

Publix will do, as always, its consumer research, then focus on what the competitors aren’t doing well and/or missing for developing its marketing program to this ethnic group.

Finding the point of difference(s), and communicating it to the target audience will make Publix successful!

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