Grocery stores are fulfilling the new role as traditional gathering spots, from shopping malls to social clubs like Lions Clubs and Rotary International, continue to shrink from decades-earlier peaks. Malls, in particular, are in danger of extinction. Credit Suisse has projected that up to 25% of malls will close over the next five years, as the internet continues to reshape the way Americans shop.
As more shoppers consider alternatives including online shopping apps and meal kits, grocers are finding ways to avoid a similar fate. Many are reinventing themselves as destination spots.
“Getting people into the store is the number one objective,” says Laurie Rains, Nielsen’s group vice president of retail strategy. Retailers are also drawn to the higher margins that in-house prepared foods, coffee and cocktails can offer.