In the past decade NYC began to look a bit like a large scale shopping mall. It is probably a combination of things starting with the desire for world domination from large brands such as Whole Foods, Home Depot and other large brick and mortar operations that we generally see as anchor tenants in strip malls. They had plenty of cash and if they didn’t do so well in NYC it didn’t matter because it was about building the brand.
What happened along the way is that the cost to keep these huge facilities full of people and merchandise is expensive. Second, that big grocery store mentality is not exactly how people shop in NYC. They shop for what they need and many buy prepared food not the makings for a meal.
Whole Foods recently rolled out (essentially) a bodega where you can grab and go with your basic needs. There are staples but there is plenty of pre-made food. It makes sense. Also makes you wonder about where is grocery going as Amazon owns Whole Foods and the largest e-commerce shipping model.
There have been plenty of data companies build on the back end of grocery over the past decade so companies can actually understand who their customer is in each store, what is flying off the shelves and what is sitting, what should be carried in depth and what should never be carried again and even ways to talk to your customer when they aren’t in the store.
Will grocery look completely different based on the neighborhood, the state, the city and location down to the item and right size in the future? Only time will tell.