Six months ago, as people feared what could be months of mandatory lock-down, grocers scrambled to keep their shelves and freezer cases stocked with staples like soup, bread, and frozen pizza. While the pandemic hasn’t been kind to many industries, grocery stores have seen huge increases in demand as more people choose to cook and eat at home, and continue to bolster their pantries.
And while the restaurants and businesses nationwide are getting back to full operations, hundreds of thousands of people are continuing to eat the majority of their meals at home because of safety, convenience, and cost efficiency. All of this makes a grocery store tenant a great choice for your recent vacancy. Plus, its clear that most shopping centers will continue to look for expanding grocers to fill vacancies, based on our recent survey of the best tenants during Covid-19. With this in mind, here is a look at our top 5 grocery brands that are expanding across the country:
The epitome of the All-American supermarket, Kroger was recently listed as the best grocery store in Alaska, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia. The Kroger family of brands run the gamut from specialty to discount, including Harris Teeter and Smith’s Grocery. They currently have stores in 30+ states, and their expansion includes a recently buzzed about $24 million investment in Louisville.
Whole Foods put natural and organic markets on the map. Since their humble beginnings in 1978, the brand was purchased by Amazon in 2017 and now boasts 500 stores. While known for their pantry items and produce, Whole Foods Markets often include cafes, bakeries, hot food bars, grab-and-go meal options, and coffee and juice bars. The company has plans for large expansions, and they even introduced 2-hr grocery delivery way back in 2017, well before the demand for delivery options this year. Their partnership with shipping-giant Amazon puts them ahead of the game on the delivery front as well. These advantages make them a strong option for a new grocer tenant.
German-brand Aldi has been aggressively opening stores across the United States for the past 4 decades and now has over 2,000 stores. These compact grocery stores are built for speed and savings. The brand’s small square footage and easy to navigate stores are built to quickly and efficiently funnel customers through their stores, making Aldi attractive to landlords looking to fill a tight spot with a grocery brand. Their cost-saving methods—such as the quarter you’ll need to rent a shopping cart—also draw customers looking for both quality and low price.
Another German-export, Lidl is slightly larger in square-footage, but has opened a number of stores under 20,000 square feet. Lidl produces everything from gourmet cheese to canned goods under their own private label, and they offer these and other fresh staples like milk, eggs, and produce at some of the lowest prices on the market. Lidl also offers great deals on name brand and international goods as well as home and fashion items, making them a versatile brand for your latest occupancy.
This well-known big box store has devoted customers shopping its aisles for everything from rotisserie chickens to Halloween costumes and home decor. Costco is a great fit for those looking to fill large occupancies, as stores are often 100,000 square feet or more, and their sterling reputation, membership-only entrance, and huge variety keeps customers returning. Not to mention, their $1.50 hot dog meal always brings customers in just for lunch.
Large or small, the grocery industry is flexible, resilient and currently booming. While grocery delivery and curbside pick-up may be gaining popularity, grocery stores will always need plenty of available square footage for fresh supplies.
As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to stretch on, the grocery sector shows no signs of slowing down. If you’d like to see more details of these retailers and many others, schedule your demo with Retailsphere today. Get access to expansion plans, financials, and real site selector contact information and so much more in our constantly updating retailer database.