Cedar, Fameco Tap Emerging Grocery Store Trends

As gas prices rise, people are driving shorter distances. Instead of driving 20 miles to the grocery store near a favorite mall, people are driving a half-mile to the local grocery store, which today offers a host of services, including dry-cleaning and banking.  As the economy slows, people are eating in restaurants less often and buying more prepared foods from the local grocery store. They can also take advantage of take-out Chinese food, pizza and other commercial meals being prepared in many of today’s new supermarkets.  The supermarket industry is attempting to tap into the trends spawned by rising energy prices and the slowing economy. The industry, for example, is building more stores closer to customers, increasing prepared meal selections and providing more in-store services, all on the theory that people today want these services as close to home as possible.  “We work with a dozen or so grocers, and almost every one of them is asking us for additional sites right now,” Leo Ullman, chairman, CEO & president of Cedar Shopping Centers Inc., told CPN today. For example, Cedar and Tristate Ventures L.P., an affiliate of Fameco Real Estate, have formed a joint venture to develop a 137,000-square-foot grocery anchored neighborhood shopping center in Stroudsburg, near Pennsylvania’s northeastern border. The $37 million venture has a fully executed lease with a major supermarket in hand. The name of the grocer has not been made public yet. But the development will include the new, large workhorse prototype for this supermarket chain, said Ullman. The store will span 76,500 square feet and provide a number of new supermarket services that go beyond selling food. “Supermarkets have transformed themselves in recent years, in part because of the Wal-Mart factor and also due to the rise of high-end grocery chains like Trader Joe’s and Wegmans,” Ullman continued. “Today’s groceries are getting larger and providing WiFi rooms, cooking schools, eat-in areas and built-in coffee shops, and many other services.”  “In fact, some of the new supermarkets offer so many services that they are approaching 100,000 square feet in size.”