Teaching Note | HBS Case Collection | September 2013

Trader Joe's

by David L. Ager and Michael A. Roberto


Based on a variety of metrics, Trader Joe's ranked as one of the most successful grocers in the United States in 2013. Experts estimated that the company had the highest sales per square foot of any major grocery chain, even significantly higher than top performer Whole Foods. In 2013, Trader Joe's faced several threats as large chains such as Wal-Mart and Tesco had begun to open small-format stores that mimicked the Trader Joe's approach. In addition, some analysts had begun to question whether Trader Joe's was losing its authenticity and "quirky cool" as the firm had continued to grow and expand across the country. What should Trader Joe's do to ensure continued growth?

Keywords: Comparative Advantage; competitive strategy; core competencies; growth strategy; strategic positioning; industry analysis; organizational culture; Competitive Strategy; Competitive Advantage; Organizational Culture; Growth and Development Strategy; Retail Industry; Food and Beverage Industry; United States;


Ager, David L., and Michael A. Roberto. "Trader Joe's." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 714-420, September 2013.