Schnucks and Dierbergs Battle for St. Louis Home
By George Anderson
Craig Schnuck summed up the current situation his company finds itself in. “We’re under attack virtually by everyone in the retail business who is trying to sell food in their
And the chairman and chief executive of Schnuck Markets has plenty of competitors. According to a report in the St. Louis Business Journal, Mr. Schnuck and St. Louis native
and rival Dierbergs find themselves competing against the likes of Wal-Mart, Sam’s, Costco, Target, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and Wild Oats.
The fact that two family run, regional chains have managed to, in many cases, thrive and not simply survive in the face of such national competition is a testament to the businesses.
Not trying to be Wal-Mart or any other retailer has been a key for both chains.
“We struggle with Wal-Mart,” admitted Laura Dierberg Padousis, vice president of corporate development for Dierbergs Markets. “But (other grocery and retail) stores that have
lowered prices to compete have not succeeded.”
“They’ll (Wal-Mart) get business, there’s no doubt,” said Greg Dierberg, executive vice president for Dierbergs. “They have everywhere else. But hopefully we can do what we do
best and retain our customer base.”
Dierbergs has focused on organic growth driving revenues and profits with its upscale product selection and merchandising.
“Schnucks is an exceptionally well-run company by an exceptionally dedicated family,” said Bill Bishop, president of Willard Bishop Consulting. “They have a diversity of talent
and a very strong culture of mutual respect and cooperation among family members. They probably could manage a company several times their size.”
The company’s knowledge of their hometown market has also, say analysts, helped them succeed in acquiring the best locations for their stores and locking out competitors in the
Dick Shepard, principal of Real Estate Strategies, said, “Both Schnucks and Dierbergs have done a good job of not only serving as supermarket anchors but developing the centers
around them or having developers build around them.”
Moderator’s Comment: What is your assessment of Schnuck Markets’ and Dierbergs’ current situation and what they will face in the future? How big is the
“local” angle in their success?
“We actually live here,” said Greg Dierberg in the St. Louis Business Journal. “If you’re not local, you’re not as invested in it.” –
George Anderson – Moderator
- Homegrown: Schnuck and Dierberg families
keep St. Louis an exception to the rule of chain grocer – St. Louis Business Journal