retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Boston Globe reports that Wegmans will open its sixth Massachusetts store - a 146,500-square-foot two-level unit in a former JC Penney, connected to a mall in Natick - in less than two weeks, but that an urban Boston location remains elusive.

The story notes that this probably isn’t a surprise to company chairman Danny Wegman; he predicted as much in 2012. But one chosen location, in the Fenway, fell through, and Wegmans continues to look.

The Globe writes that the Natick store “will have its own unusual touches …The upstairs, connected to a parking deck via an enclosed walkway, will feature fresh food and prepared meals. The downstairs will be focused more on nonperishable goods. If you are wondering: The store will use a conveyer system alongside its escalators to allow carts to move between floors. And a full-service Mexican restaurant, Blue Dalia, will open there on May 4.”
KC's View:
I’m going to have take a drive up to Natick once the store has opened, because I’m curious how this store works. I’m a Wegmans fan, but I am skeptical about putting supermarkets in malls; there is, after all, a reason that malls are emptier than ever and real estate is available.

That said, I suspect Wegmans may be exactly the kind of retailer - big, bold, adventurous, and a destination shop - that could revitalize such a location.

I do hope that they get a Boston store … if only because I suspect that writer Ace Atkins may find a way to get Spenser and Susan Silverman shopping there in a future novel.