Giant Food expects big things from a new, mini-grocery store concept
Giant Food Stores announced plans to introduce a mini-grocery concept for urban markets — Giant Heirloom Market. The first location in downtown Philadelphia will measure only 9,500-square-feet, less than a quarter of Giant’s average store size of 45,000.
In a statement, Giant said the concept is the result of over a year of neighborhood listening sessions and market research, with lessons borrowed from Amsterdam, “known for its innovative, small grocery stores.”
Giant Heirloom Market will play up “high-quality, fresh, seasonal, and flavor-focused foods and everyday essentials.” Features include a produce chef who will prepare veggies and fruit on demand, as well as a focus on local artisanal breads and other local food purveyors, a variety of plant-based foods, sampling and demonstrations.
The format will incorporate “endless aisle” technology. The chain will provide associates with iPads so they can help customers order items online for Peapod-assisted pickup or delivery. Giant is planning several additional stores in Philadelphia.
A grocery store under 10,000-square-feet is rare. The average size of Trader Joe’s is now about 13,000-square-feet and Aldi’s average is 15,000. Kroger and Hy-Vee each have formats at 10,000-square-feet and under, but they operate more as convenience stores with fuel stations and some fresh food.
Publix is reportedly opening a smaller-format store in Longwood, FL supporting online ordering and delivery, as well as curbside pickup, but it will still measure around 30,000-square-feet.
Among other formats, Target has been aggressively expanding in urban centers with stores averaging between 20,000 to 40,000-square-feet. Meijer in August introduced a new format, Bridge Street Market, with a 37,000-square-feet location in Grand Rapids, MI, that’s likewise designed for urban markets.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How do you see small format grocery stores such as the Giant Heirloom Market differentiating from convenience stores, bodegas, delis and other locations that serve consumers in urban areas? Will endless aisle technology and pickup/delivery options overcome any shortcomings of small format grocery stores?