In 2022, on the heels of the pandemic, grocers continued to face challenges that were largely outside their immediate control.
Global supply chain disruptions, the resulting rise in inflation, and an increasingly tight labor market were compounding issues that made it difficult for businesses to keep costs down and protect their consumers’ bottom line.
The lingering effects of the pandemic have eased somewhat in 2023, but grocers were left wondering how they fared compared to the rest of the industry – and whether there was more they could have done to minimize the negative impacts.
“Earlier this year, we started hearing from independents that they really wished they had better resources for understanding how they were doing compared to their peers,” said Audrey Hogan, Chief Operating Officer of TimeForge.
To help meet this need, the team at TimeForge compiled data from hundreds of stores across the nation to reveal insights into how independent retailers managed their labor in 2022. The findings were grouped by geographic region and compared to available national data.
The resulting report, “Grocery Sales, Labor, and Productivity in 2022,” serves as a reference for independent grocers seeking to benchmark their sales and labor metrics against similar businesses that are labor-conscious.
Key takeaways from the report include:
- The average weekly Sales Per Labor Hour (SPLH) per store was $149 in 2022.
- The average weekly Front End SPLH was $1134. Front End SPLH was highest on the West Coast and lowest in the Southeast.
- Grocery department Cost Per Labor Hour (CPLH) was highest on the West Coast and lowest in the Southeast and Southwest regions.
- Grocery department sales were highest among businesses in the Southeast United States and lowest in the Midwest.
The analysis also showed that weekly scheduled labor matched actual labor within 1-2 shifts for stores using an online labor management platform with real-time reporting and proactive cost controls.
The close alignment between planned and actual labor suggests that these grocers were better equipped to adapt to the market and staff appropriately despite the difficulties of 2022.
“There were a lot of industry hurdles that would have justified more variance for grocers, like record-setting turnover and unfillable open positions," said Hogan, who was encouraged by the results - especially in light of the fact that some of the hurdles are expected to continue through 2023.
Overall, the data points to an increase in efficiency among grocers as they strive to optimize their operations amid the lingering effects of the pandemic.
“I'm very pleased to be able to share these findings with the community,” said Hogan. "With greater insight into sales trends, operating costs, and workforce management strategies, independent retailers will be even better prepared to set themselves up for success in 2024."
TimeForge is a leading labor management platform that provides software to help retail and restaurant businesses control labor costs and operate more efficiently. The platform includes employee scheduling, timekeeping, communication, hiring and onboarding, manager logbooks, labor analytics, and task management products that scale seamlessly. Today, thousands of businesses use TimeForge’s powerful, easy-to-use tools and integrations to delight employees and empower busy managers.
Learn more at timeforge.com.