I would expect Target is using markdown optimization to preserve as much margin as possible from this inventory right-sizing effort. The ROI from strategic markdowns is higher than any other pricing optimization. Not sexy, but it yields margin dollars -- which Target so desperately needs to find.
This happens when retailers don't adjust quickly to unavoidable COGS increases (as suppliers HAVE to take price increases), plus a strong reluctance to increase shelf prices, combined with shoppers shifting from higher margin general merch to necessary food purchases. Perfect storm of margin reduction.
The chains listed have the tools to navigate inflation. As much as it pains me to say it, the Whole Foods store in Chicago is a mismatch for the neighborhood. If Whole Foods stayed, it would be with the realization that this store will lose money. Smaller grocers typically don't have data-based methods to navigate increasing complex inflationary pricing environment. Their sales and gross margins will suffer as a consequence.
I get the distinct feeling that the Fresh Market loyalty program is designed to drive what's important to Fresh Market, not their shoppers. I literally shop Fresh Market six times per week -- and have felt very little benefit from entering my phone number into the POS. It's only a matter of time before shoppers skip those keystrokes if no value results.