Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Grocery stores could save dying suburban shopping malls

Since the 1950s, department chains like Sears and J.C. Penney have anchored suburban shopping malls. But hundreds of stores are expected to soon close their doors. Sears, an iconic mall mainstay, plans to shutter more than 300 locations in the US by the end of this year, and J.C. Penney recently said it would close 138 stores because of waning traffic and sales.

But now a different type of company is moving into their vacated spaces: grocery stores.

"Food retail is one thing helping struggling malls survive," June Williamson, an architecture professor at the City College of New York who cowrote "Retrofitting Suburbia," told Business Insider.

Kroger, the largest US grocer, with nearly 4,000 locations, recently purchased a former Macy's at Kingsdale Shopping Center in Upper Arlington, Ohio, for $10.5 million, not long after the department store announced it would close the 45-year-old location. 365 by Whole Foods (a smaller, more economical version of the well-known chain) will open at College Mall in Bloomington, Indiana, in late 2017, according to Indiana Public Media.

And Wegmans Food Markets is moving into a former J.C. Penney at the Natick Mall in Massachusetts. The shop is set to open in 2018. The grocer decided to move into the mall because the vacant department store has a lot of space and ample parking, Wegmans spokeswoman Valerie Fox told Business Insider. The mall's location, near numerous housing developments, is also convenient for shoppers.. . . more

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