A fundamental shift is going on in the consumer product world as retailers decide that less is more, the Wall Street Journal reports. Big national retailers are expected to slash selection by at least 15%, analysts say. Gone will be 30% of Kroger’s cereals, 20 of the 24 tape measures Wal-Mart sells, and so on. It’s a big curveball for manufacturers accustomed to cranking out variations on their top products.
By last year, the average food retailer’s shelves held 47,000 products, up 50% from 1996. “All that go-go 1990s where we were adding items in and adding items in, and people wanted more, more, more, more choice... just didn't pay off,” said a Walgreen's executive. “People say, ‘Whoah, you’re bombarding me. Help me figure out what I need.”