Grocery store chains are not only in expansion mode, many are entertaining or are in the works of adding mall units into their growth plans. As of recently, many grocery store chains, such as Whole Foods, Wegmans, Lidl, and The Fresh Market have taken space vacated by department stores in malls. This is advantageous to mall landlords as it adds a tenant that can typically pay more in rent than the previous department store anchors and bodes well with the grocery store concepts because they are able to enter a trade area, gain market presence, obtain great big box visibility, and be plugged into a destination with built-in foot traffic.
The concept of plugging a grocer into a vacant big box space formerly occupied by a department store anchor is a great idea and can work well in many markets, depending upon location. Whole Foods has been reportedly eyeing hundreds of vacant or soon to be close Sears units throughout the country. This move could input the grocer into many attractive locations and fit the chain’s upscale demographic criteria for new stores in select markets. Grocery is one of the strongest retail sectors with almost twice as many new store openings than closings last year 2018. In today’s day in age, shoppers want to be as efficient as possible especially when running errands. This move for grocers entering the mall landscape allows for consumer to have a one-stop shop for all their needs. It can be a win-win for both the consumer and the mall landlord. For the consumer, it is convenient and for the mall landlord it is smart to incorporate, uplifting the mall, adding to the destination, and creating a hub for all kinds of shopping.