retail news in context, analysis with attitude

In North Carolina, the News & Observer reports that Wegmans has decided not to open a planned second store in the community of Cary.

The reason:  

“Online shopping has grown tremendously, fueled in part by COVID-19, enabling us to serve customers in a much greater radius than was originally projected,” the company said in a statement.  “This has allowed us to plan our growth differently than we have in the past.  As a result, we have decided not to move forward with the proposed Cary, NC location.”

According to the News & Observer, "There are currently Wegmans stores in Raleigh, west Cary and Chapel Hill — all of which opened in the last two years. The Chapel Hill location just opened Feb. 24.

"Wegmans still is opening a location in May in Wake Forest at 11051 Ligon Mill Road. A future store in Holly Springs remains in the works for N.C. 55 and Ralph Stephens Road, according to its website."

KC's View:

Seems to me that this is just the beginning of what could be a broad rethinking of food retail footprints going forward in the coming year.  

It was just last week that Schnuck Markets announced what it called "a new format grocery store" for Jasper, Indiana, to be opened this summer … an 18,000-square-foot “Schnucks Fresh” store that "will include a heavy focus on fresh departments such as produce, meat, seafood and bakery" and will staffed by about 30 people - a far cry from the usual Schnucks store.

As much as the Wegmans decision, this is a reflection of an understanding that the food retail world has changed forever, that e-commerce will play a permanent role in how people buy packaged products, and that fresh-focused stores may be a way for companies to expand their reach with less of a real estate investment.