Many grocers known for the gigantic mega-supercenter shopping experience are trying out store models shrunk down to the size of the old neighborhood market.
For decades, the average American supermarket’s size evolved similarly to the average American’s weight: It grew and grew. Lately, though, many grocers known for gigantic mega-supercenters are trying out store models shrunk down to the size of the old neighborhood market.
A few years back, the average size of a grocery store was measured at over 45,000 square feet, up from 35,000 square feet in the mid-’90s. The supersizing of supermarkets may have come to an end, however. The shrinking of grocery stores has been a noticeable trend in recent years. Chains such as Aldi and Trader Joe’s, which both operate stores typically under 20,000 square feet—and which both happen to be owned by the same German company—have been extremely successful, opening new locations left and right. Walmart, the ultimate big-box megachain, has stepped up efforts to expand its small store formats, especially in urban neighborhoods, to compete not only with local grocers but dollar stores as well.
Plenty of other big names in groceries are also now jumping on the small-store trend. The Orlando Business Journal reported that Publix, which runs supermarkets as big as 60,000 square feet, mostly in the South, is working on a store prototype in the neighborhood of 20,000 square feet.RetailWire noted that several other large—and typically large-sized—supermarket brands, including Kroger and Hy-Vee, are also launching or expanding mini-grocery stores.
Last fall, Kroger opened three 7,500-foot-square-sized stores operating under the name Turkey Hill Market in the Columbus, Ohio, area. The markets are a fraction of the size of the typical Kroger (67,000 square feet), and it’s being presented as a cross between a convenience store and a supermarket. Hy-Vee opened a 14,000-square-footer under the “Hy-Vee Mainstreet” concept in Iowa in mid-April.
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