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Supermarkets take up too much space

According to the Wall Street Journal, the modern US supermarket has too much space in the face of changing grocery shopping habits. What does this mean?

Fredmeyer edit 1

Never before in America has so much retail square meterage been devoted to selling food – and it is too much.

A massive build-out by retailers has left the country piled up with grocery shelves as consumers are shifting from big weekly shopping trips to more snacking and to-go meals. The mismatch has flattened retail sales and leaves the industry vulnerable to a wave of closures that some executives, bankers and industry experts think is coming soon.

Commercial square footage of retail food space per capita last year set a record, with 4.15ft² of food retail per person, according to CoStar Group, a commercial real-estate firm, nearly 30 times the amount of space allocated to groceries at major chains in 1950.

To be sure, there weren’t as many major grocery chains decades ago, with many Americans shopping for food at ‘mom and pop’ stores.

The full version of this report is on

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