Is Trader Joe’s Suffering From an Identity Crisis?
A Reuters report suggests that retailers today are in search of the magic format. Retailers known for big stores, such as Walmart, are building much smaller units. Others that grew to prominence with small formats — such as Forever 21, with its original 900 square-foot stores — later took on 10,000 to 20,000 square foot spaces and are now opening units that reach 85,000 square feet.
Another successful chain that made its reputation with small stores, Trader Joe’s, is opening bigger stores to accommodate the many fans that flock to its locations wherever they open. While the size change is not nearly as dramatic as Forever 21, Trader Joe’s is opening 14,000 square-foot units in place of those about half the size.
A bigger concern for Trader Joe’s is whether it can hold onto the "quirky vibe," as the Los Angeles Times calls it, that made the chain great.
"Their mission is to be a nationwide chain of neighborhood specialty grocery stores," Mark Mallinger, a business professor at Pepperdine University, told the LA Times. "But there’s a dichotomy there. It’s like being a national chain of mom-and-pop stores."
- U.S. stores shrink, get make-overs to boost sales – Reuters
- Forever 21 Thinks Big – RetailWire
- Trader Joe’s tries to keep quirky vibe as it expands quickly – Los Angeles Times
Discussion Question: Will Trader Joe’s be able to hold onto what has made it successful as it opens larger stores?