A&P, the bankrupt Tengelmann-controlled retailer, is targeting a growing segment of the US population with a special discount scheme for seniors at all its Pathmark stores.

The scheme, which launched on April 4 and is called Senior Appreciation Mondays , allows customers aged 55 or older to save 5% on grocery shopping exceeding $30 (£18.60). The offer excludes milk, alcohol, tobacco and pharmacy items.

A&P also launched Senior Appreciation Tuesdays, with the same eligibility requirements for customers at Superfresh stores in and around Baltimore, Maryland on April 5. It will roll out the scheme to all A&P, Food Emporium and remaining Superfresh stores on April 19.

According to the Administration of Ageing, the older population in the US (persons 65 years or older) totalled 39.6 million in 2009 or 13% of the US population. By 2030, there will be about 72.1 million people over 65 or 19% of the population. With less than 20 years until one in five people are over the age of 65 it is crucial that retailers start targeting and adapting to this segment now.

A&P’s promotion is a subtle way to target this population and encourage them to visit stores on days when stores are typically less busy. Not only does it offer the opportunity for the elderly to complete their whole shop at one store but balances out trade across the week for the retailer.

By excluding staple products and including a $30 minimum spend, A&P’s offer is not overly generous but it should be enough to encourage customers to visit.

A&P’s scheme is not unique. Zielpunkt in Austria and retailers in Japan run similar schemes.

After attracting elderly shoppers into stores the next challenge for retailers is making sure their stores are suitable for elderly populations. We have started to see the emergence of magnifying glasses on trolleys at retailers such as Co-op in Switzerland and dm in Germany. Tenglemann has actually been a pioneer in this field in its home market of Germany. In its stores that are located in the vicinity of elderly populations, it is has enhanced in-store lighting, wider aisles, lower shelves and even increased signage size.

It is a surprise that more UK retailers haven’t started targeting the older population. With 23% of the UK population expected to be over the age of 65 by 2034, according to The Office of National Statistics, it is about time UK retailers started focusing on this fast-growing segment.

Gregory Hodge, research director, Planet Retail. For more information contact us on:

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