Issue link: http://magazine.progressivegrocer.com/i/689994

31.1% Yes 37.3% Yes 68.9% No 62.7% No Source: Progressive Grocer Market Research, 2016 Is Your DelI AreA sepArAteD From Your Fresh prepAreD FooD sellINg AreA? Does Your store(s) hAve A DeDIcAteD DININg AreA For shoppers to eAt Your Fresh prepAreD oFFerINgs? 2016 Retail Deli Review Similarly, some four in 10 executives surveyed by PG said that in-house specials were an efective strategy for boosting sales. Meanwhile, at Harding's, perhaps nothing sells better in the deli section than value. Just as long as a dish is hot, ready to go out the door — and value priced — it will sell better than just about anything else, notes Miller. At the same time, Miller says that the key competitors taking business away from the grocery deli section are local restaurants. With the local economy improving, area restau- rant business has improved over the past year, he notes, and that makes it tougher on his store deli, which may help ex- plain why retail deli executives told PG that the top item in their deli sections that they hope to "enhance" in 2016 is the humble sandwich. To that point, more than 60 percent said that they planned to improve their deli sandwich oferings. Further, nearly half of executives said that they hoped to improve lunch oferings in their deli sections. Space Odyssey One way to do that, of course, is with more space. An impressive number of supermarket delis plan to grow their space in 2016, according to the PG survey. Some 46 percent of those surveyed said they planned to expand store deli space either modestly or signifcantly over the next year. Not that deli sections don't share some common headaches. Key among them: attracting and keeping good employees. Tat's certainly the toughest thing at Harding's, admits Miller. Nationally, labor is far and away the biggest issue facing deli departments, according to the PG survey. Some 40 percent of those surveyed cited labor as their top prob- lem, with training a distant second. When asked to rate the most serious problem they faced in the deli department — on a scale of one to 10 (with 10 being the most serious) — executives didn't hesitate to slap their highest number, an eight, on recruiting efective employees. Te next toughest thing was attracting more shop- pers to the deli. But that wasn't the case for all supermarkets. In fact, when hAve You DeDIcAteD more sellINg spAce to Fresh prepAreD FooDs IN Your AverAge store IN the pAst YeAr? 16.2% Yes, significantly 52.7% No, Kept the same Amount of space 29.7% Yes, modestly 1.4% No, reduced the Amount of space Source: Progressive Grocer Market Research, 2016 158 | Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What's Next | June 2016

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