(Sept. 20) With the continued march to market dominance by the Wal-Mart Supercenters and Costco club stores of the world, many thought the days of the traditional supermarket were numbered.

But a new joint study by the Food Marketing Institute, Washington, D.C., and the Web site SupermarketGuru.com, has another message: Don’t count the old reliable grocery store out just yet.

About 37% of people polled for the study said they shop in a club store less than once a month. About 31% say they never do.

And the study’s findings regarding fresh produce are especially good news for supermarkets. About 81% of those polled said they buy their vegetables at supermarkets, compared to just 6% at supercenters and 3% at club stores.

“The supermarket is still where people buy most of their food and nonfood items,” said Philip Lempert, the consumer and marketing analyst who runs supermarketguru.com.

Lempert said that although shoppers believe they can get better deals at supercenters and club stores, they aren’t necessarily switching their allegiances to those stores. In fact, many shoppers go to supercenters and club stores expecting to save money, then find they often spend more because of impulse buys. About 83% of those polled said they primarily shop at supermarkets, while just 11% shop mostly at supercenters and 3% at club stores.

But while the FMI/supermarketguru.com study shows that supermarkets are holding their own, it also turned up much good news for supercenters and club stores.

Janice Jones, FMI’s director of research, said consumers are willing to shop in more types of stores and take the time to seek out value.

For supermarket owners, this means they can no longer rely on consumers making a weekly “stock-up” trip. The survey found that only 39% of shoppers make a stock-up trip to the supermarket at least once a week. Most shoppers — about 60% — instead rely on smaller “fill-in” trips, in which they buy 10 or fewer items.

Lempert also said he sees the willingness of consumers to take the time to search for the right price as a potentially ominous sign for conventional supermarkets.

“The average shopper shops at 2.2 stores a week,” Lempert said. “Supermarkets are missing an opportunity to capture more consumer dollars by delivering and communicating a greater selection and value to their shoppers.”

Jones and Lempert said supermarkets need to “create an air of excitement” in their stores to combat the perception that supermarket shopping is routine. And retailers should not assume that shoppers will automatically fill their carts with higher priced items simply for convenience.