Should grocers go full steam ahead on new store openings?
The novel coronavirus pandemic slowed new store openings to a near halt as it did with many aspects of the retail world. Now, however, a few retailers are moving ahead with opening plans, even as social distancing rules remain in place nationwide and COVID-19 remains a significant public health concern.
Giant Food has opened a 53,000-square-foot store location in Fairfax, VA, after months of pandemic-related delays, according to Progressive Grocer. The store had to implement social distancing modifications as it opened, repurposing its salad and hot bars — as others have done — for grab-and-go items. The location is comparatively small for the grocer, which tends to have stores in the 64,000-square-foot range and up.
Giant is not the only retailer that has been taking its new store expansion plans off pause.
A small concept Target, which had been under construction for a number of years in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago, announced its opening recently, according to Rejournals. The store is an anchor tenant to the development of apartments, and various other retailers are signed on for ground-floor locations in the space.
There are signs that others are setting themselves up to launch when the U.S. is closer to an all-clear.
Amazon.com, for instance, recently began building a new grocery store, distinct from Whole Foods, in Southern California, according to OC Register. The store is being built in a former Toys “R” Us location. It is the second of the new concept’s locations in the region, though neither have opened and no tentative opening dates have been disclosed.
Early during the pandemic, Chicago grocery maven Bob Mariano announced he was planning to launch a small format, urban grocery concept called Dom’s Market & Kitchen with an opening date of March 2021.
The store promises to feature many experiential elements, such as wine tasting classes and in-store dining, which would be difficult to execute were social distancing measures still in place when it opens in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood.
- Giant Food Powers Through Pandemic to Open New Store – Progressive Grocer
- Status Update: Amazon building grocery store in Fullerton Town Center – OC Register
- Target opens as anchor tenant at Logan Apartments in Chicago’s Logan Square – Rejournals
- Bob Mariano has plans to create a great ‘next-gen’ grocery store – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you think newly opened grocery stores will do more business or less than they would have pre-pandemic? What do you think about non-essential retailers opening new locations at this time?