The investors certainly hope you’re right! Footprint expansion was part of the core thesis in the take-private. There is still plenty of white space in southern California (including San Diego), so they will likely want to stay there and leverage the brand strength in Southern California for some time, but I agree that once that market is saturated there should be room for this offering in other large metro areas with relatively affluent populations.
Exactly right. The company is very thoughtful in selectively seeking out brand accretive partnerships which again help differentiate it from both premium and traditional grocery competitors. Another example is Gelsons’ partnership with Jessica Alba’s Honest Company; they were the first retailer to carry the brand, and maintained an exclusive partnership in many locations for some time.
Very good point! The business did indeed see a sharp decline in the last recession, forcing them to take a fresh look at their promotional strategy and how they communicate value even as a purposely premium brand. Important as you say not to over-lever a business like this, the investors in this case left significant amounts of leverage on the table (sacrificing returns for reduced leverage during a downturn); also helped by the fact that the company owns three of its most valuable stores and one shopping center, which significantly reduces “true” leverage adjusted for leases.
This is a very interesting post, and a critical area to understand and optimize as we (as a country) spend the most per student on education without the benefits one would expect.
I wonder what your thoughts are on whether there are any tradeoffs between teaching discipline and fostering creativity; does one sacrifice the latter in such a structured (some would say militaristic) model as KIPP? And does that matter for these kids later in life, or limit the type of work they are able to succeed at?
Great job illuminating a very important topic.
Great post Sophia!
I did a bit of work on assessing the online grocery delivery space at my previous job and found that the strong and steadily increasing demand for online grocery delivery services as well as the sudden entry of well resourced and potentially industry disruptive players such as Amazon and Google have spurred erstwhile reluctant traditional grocers to play catch up and focus on developing competitive online offerings, despite intrinsically difficult economics within the market (upfront capital costs, expensive maintenance, lower margins). Many grocery retailers as you say are choosing to slowly wade into the market in a measured fashion through third party providers, rather than building out software, warehousing, and distribution platforms internally.
What are your thoughts on how grocers who have made the decision to self-build their platforms will fare relative to those who are partnering with third-party providers like Instacart? It will be very interesting to see how this space develops.
Really great write-up Jennie – fascinating insight into a familiar brand that nonetheless operates a bit under the radar.
How does Goodwill think about competition for donations vs other donated goods retailers (Savers, Value Village)? Are there any marketing/branding steps that the company takes to set themselves apart particular from for-profit donated goods solicitors, or are they generally content just to take things as they come?
Also, does Goodwill partner with other regional non-profit partners in soliciting & monetizing donated goods? If so, how?