Case | HBS Case Collection | June 2011

Reed Supermarkets: A New Wave of Competitors

by John A. Quelch and Carole Carlson


Reed Supermarkets is a high-end supermarket chain with operations in several Midwestern states. Meredith Collins, vice president of marketing, visits stores located in Columbus, Ohio, an important region with the largest market and the greatest impact on revenue growth. She is concerned about increased competition from dollar stores and limited-assortment stores offering very low, appealing price points. Reed's market research shows that as a result of the economic downturn, customer loyalty is dwindling and consumers are willing to go to multiple stores to get the best deals. Collins must decide whether to change the current marketing and positioning plan in an effort to increase market share to meet challenging corporate targets. Her options include retreating from price competition and focusing on quality or embracing more private-label brands and competing more aggressively on price. She can also maintain the current positioning and appeal to customers looking for a quality shopping experience. The case contains an implicit quantitative assignment that instructors can emphasize to the degree they choose.

Keywords: Product Positioning; Marketing Strategy; Business Growth and Maturation; Competitive Strategy; Consumer Behavior; Brands and Branding; Retail Industry; Food and Beverage Industry; Ohio;


Quelch, John A., and Carole Carlson. "Reed Supermarkets: A New Wave of Competitors." Harvard Business School Brief Case 114-296, June 2011.