Are Traditional Grocers in Trouble?


Today’s grocer market is fiercely competitive, requiring constant innovation to survive, according to panelists from three of the most successful chains—Trader Joe’s, Aldi and Walgreens, which now sells groceries at its pharmacies—at NREI and’s National Net Lease Investment Conference, held in Chicago on Nov. 1 and attended by more than 150 commercial real estate pros.

Although the traditional grocer used to be an anchor store, that situation is rapidly changing, said panel moderator Matthew M. May, president of May Realty Advisors, based in Los Angeles. He noted that even gas station chains like Kroger in California are adding grocery sections to pull in more customers.

“As the economy has gone south, people have been trying to figure out how to spend their almighty dollar and to stretch it people have been shopping around. That’s caused real havoc in the traditional grocery store market,” said Michael F. Mallon, president and principal of Mallon and Associates Inc., a Chicago-based retail real estate firm specializing in grocery stores that is currently a development partner with Aldi.


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