It’s been tough for businesses of all shapes and sizes in the Garden State over the past year, and supermarkets are certainly no exception.
This year alone, at least four major grocery stores have closed in New Jersey.
The calendar had only just swung into January when news broke that an Acme store in Middlesex County would close on February 3. There, Albertson’s, owner of the Acme chain, cited “real estate concerns” as the reason for closing the store.
Prior to this store’s closure, Stop & Shop had closed a store on Route 17 in Paramus and then another store in southern Brunswick.
Then, in recent weeks, The Asbury Park Press reported that after more than 40 years on Route 35 in Ocean Township, Monmouth County, Super Foodtown was set to close.
Now comes the word that another Stop & Shop will disappear from the landscape – this one on Raritan Ave. in Highland Park, Middlesex County.
According to NJ.com, a company spokesperson said, “After a detailed review of the operating performance of our stores, we have made the difficult decision not to renew our lease…”
But unlike other supermarket closures, this one is not immediate. This Stop & Shop store will remain open for the rest of the year and will close in 2023.
What causes a supermarket to close?
When a supermarket closes, a question is often asked. Just like a restaurant, if everyone has to eat at some point, shouldn’t it be easy to run a supermarket?
Like any other business, many factors come into play, including real estate/rental issues, the opening of competing stores, and an increase in the number of people shopping online, to name a few. Not to mention the last set of problems: supply chain problems, problems finding workers, increased shoplifting and, of course, inflation, which has people grabbing pennies any way they can.
Think of it this way: if your store sells a head of lettuce for $2, the store across the street is going to sell it for $1.75, which means the place down the street might sell it for $1.50, then the megastore on the corner might have it for $1. If you’re the store selling lettuce for $2, you can either lower your price to be competitive, reducing your profit, or your product simply won’t sell, reducing your profit.
And even the biggest stores are not immune. Walmart closes stores when they’re unprofitable, and even Amazon has struggled with some physical locations.
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