Noticing more grocery stores in your city? You’re not alone. Developers across the Midwest have discovered that grocery stores — especially gourmet ones — are consumer favorites today.
A recent report from Mid-America Real Estate Corporation offers more proof that the gourmet grocer sector is one of the hottest in commercial real estate. According to Mid-America’s most recent Urban Grocery Study, there has been a 60 percent increase in new square footage devoted to the gourmet grocery sector in Chicago and its suburbs since the summer of 2011.
And this is hardly a short-lived trend. Dan Tausk, principal and vice president of Mid-America — and, along with the company’s Nancy Fetsch, one of the authors of the study — said that of the 21 new grocery stores proposed for Chicago and its suburbs in 2013, 15 are gourmet. Three of the stores fall into the full-service category, while the remaining three fit in the discount segment.
Gourmet stores today are also acting a bit more like traditional supermarkets, Tausk said.
“Some in the gourmet sector are expanding their merchandise to include more staples and choices, offering one-stop shopping,” Tausk said.
Gourmet grocer Mariano’s is leading the way in Chicago and its suburbs. From 2011 to 2013, Mariano’s opened five stores in the Chicago area. It plans to open nine more for the rest of the year and beyond. The company now holds a total of 943,000 square feet of stores that are either already open or will open for business sometime this year.
Whole Foods has been busy, too. Mid-America reports that the company plans to open two new stores in the Chicago area.
Not all grocery segments, though, are thriving. Mid-America reported that the discount sector is actually in decline, having lost 4.08 percent of its store count between 2011 and 2013. That’s a big change from the period from 2009 through 2011, when the discount segment saw its store count jump by more than 24 percent.