Your IGA Mid-Year Update

Jul 10, 2019

Ok, so it's already the halfway point in 2019, which means it's time to ask, “How are we doing?”

The bottom line is, there’s a lot of good news coming out of IGA.

Store & Sales Growth

Overall, the IGA chain is growing. In the U.S., we have projected a second year of growth in both store count and total sales. Currently our forecast has us exceeding those goals and the store team is enthusiastic about the progress we are making for 2019.

Internationally, we are growing too. I expect to see increases in store count in multiple markets, including China and Poland—and perhaps a new market or two either late this year or early next. Few chains in our industry can claim the kind of store count and total store sales growth as IGA.

And while overall store growth is great, every retailer knows comparative sales are what matter most. Although we don’t get full time data from all IGA stores, the majority data feed we get has us growing in comp sales too. Our sales in Beer and Wine, Produce, Meat, Frozen, Specialty, and Deli/Bakery all look stronger than last year. We are lagging in Pet, Baby, and some other center store categories, but those declines follow industry trends, and IGA is working hard in the second half of the year to supply you with the category insights and resources you need to grow sales in those categories, like this recent feature story and webinar on the pet category.



As we work to complete the data feeds for all IGA stores this year and in the future, I hope to report on sales in far more detail. Which leads us to the importance of data. Benchmarking one market versus the total is valuable. Knowing what other retailers are doing to grow lagging departments is even more valuable. Our push to document best practices depends on this acceleration of reliable store sales data, as does the way we are working with suppliers on the IGA National Digital Ad.

National Digital Ad

It’s the data that is enabling us to get unique, national offers from our manufacturing partners, and it’s clear to see it’s working. This time last year we were getting about 12 national offers a year. Now we are getting more than that a month, and support from manufacturers is growing as reach grows. And grow it is: we are up over 12 million impressions and I expect those numbers to increase, especially this fall as we accelerate our media spending for the holidays.

The IGA National Digital Ad has been one of our biggest accomplishments in the last year. Not only are millions of new shoppers discovering IGA, thousands each week are shopping our stores and buying the promoted items. Our average lift is over 14 percent compared to last year, with some offers greater than 40 percent!

Brands are quickly learning that IGA can now support their national campaigns. Where before we were impossible to work with at a national level, they are now seeing us as a reliable partner in the launch of new items, supporting their national advertising and marketing. And that means we are moving from “too hard to work with” to “best practice partner.”

While I’m proud of this progress, I am disappointed by the delays in getting local IGA ad content up. Our ultimate goal is to post the front and back cover items of every IGA local print ad online each week in the National Digital Ad as well as the national offers. While we have it working in some markets, we have been delayed due to the complexity of the number of versions, and multiple ad building processes of our retailers. Our new deadline is this fall, and our indicators show green. The team is working hard to ensure this tollgate does not slip again. We can’t afford to slow the momentum of the IGA National Digital Ad, and getting local content mixed with national is the next big push.


Our new communications program we launched last fall continues to show momentum. The new website, the weekly newsletter content, the webinars, and town hall meetings continue to get praise from our members. But know we see this as a goal that never ends; modern digital communications demands more content, continuous improvement of content, more interactivity. The team is working on new tools too, including a monthly podcast series, more online videos, and other tools to ensure you are up to date and informed.


Our training efforts in the IGA Coca-Cola institute continue to grow too, with more classes, more class usage, and better engagement. Look for best practices courses coming this fall as we continue to improve this incredible IGA asset, and be sure to register to attend one of the two International Supermarket Management Classes coming your way this fall.

IGA Exclusive Brand

And launching now, and all through the fall, is our redesigned IGA Exclusive Brand packaging. The designs are fresh, and the product now offers a Double Money Back Guarantee to reflect the amazing quality of our exclusive brand. Expect to see a full launch kit, promotional signs, and weekly offers on IGA Exclusive Brands products all through the balance of the year.

Local Equals Fresh

Hundreds of stores have adopted the new IGA Local Equals Fresh branding and visual merchandising program launched earlier this year, and it looks amazing in the stores. But this is another project that will never be done; we will continually update and add to the program to ensure our stores communicate our unique advantages to shoppers in a way that makes them more aware and more loyal to IGA. Expect to see our first department-level release for the pet category later this year, with plans for Baby, Adult Beverage, and more following shortly thereafter.

IGA Shopper Rewards

And finally, one of the biggest and most exciting new programs is the launch of our IGA Shopper Rewards. Said simply, it brings the powers of advanced loyalty to bear on simple in-store technology such as the POS system, print receipt, and email. Like CVS, Dollar General, and other retailers, we will be offering digital coupons and on-receipt offers to entice shoppers to repeat purchase, grow basket, and overall loyalty. But perhaps the best feature of all is the automation of the National Digital Ad. IGA Shopper Rewards technology will handle the complete setup and reimbursement of the National Digital Ad offer for your store, meaning if you haven’t taken advantage of this weekly selling support, you will no longer miss out on these free sales-building dollars. It is just starting now and I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunities to harness this for our shoppers. If you haven’t signed up for the IGA Shopper Rewards, now’s the time to do so. Click here for more information, and stay tuned to next week’s IGA Minute for a deep dive into the program and its benefits. 

With so much change happening all at the same time, I know we will make mistakes. Not everything will launch perfectly, and we are bound to discover some processes we thought would be easy but turn out to hard (like getting the local content into the National Digital Ad). My promise to you, as always, is to share good news with bad; to delay launch rather than push out weak code; to never slow down your cashiers or check out process; and to be nimble in fixing problems as they arise.

It is an exciting time at IGA, with change happening all across our teams. I couldn’t be prouder of where we are now, and more excited about what’s to come!




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