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HERTFORDSHIRE, England -- IGD, an international food and grocery agency that provides information and research to those industries, named Wawa on its list of international retailers to watch in the upcoming year.
The report, titled "Global Retail Innovation: Ten to Watch in 2007" collected 10 retailers from around the globe that IGD feels shows strong growth prospects, best practices and innovation, while focusing on sustainability, innovative formats and emerging markets.
"A company's stance on sustainability is fast becoming a key factor in consumer buying decisions," said Jonathan Gunz, the report's author and senior business analyst for IGD. "Sustainability has to be backed up by substance and robust measures. It is not just about a branding exercise, although getting the brand communications spot-on and reflecting consumer concerns is crucially important. Consumers are increasingly savvy. They will see through sustainability half-measures that aren't backed up by genuine action."
IGD developed the list by visiting retail outlets throughout the world. Those retailers that address consumer concerns and respond to market challenges were featured prominently this year. "Flexibility and a willingness to take risks is a key requirement for those embarking on format experimentation, as is an understanding of consumer needs. Another pre-requisite is management vision and passion. These retailers have some exciting stories to tell," said Gunz.
Wawa -- one of two American companies making the list, the other being Amazon.com -- breaks the mold through its 'food first, fuel second' approach to quality foodservice, the report stated, noting that customers can order sandwiches, while pumping gas.
"These retailers are successful in finding the 'Retail X Factor.' That is, something unique and special that makes their concept stand out from the crowd. It is the best way to respond to rapidly-evolving consumer trends," concluded Gunz.