Prominent Grocery Chains Shutter Some Locations

In the wake of a global pandemic, followed by related and unrelated side effects, such as inflation, labor shortages and shipping complications – several U.S. grocery store chains have closed locations.

Whole Foods Market, Kroger, Sprouts Farmer’s Market, Walmart, Piggly Wiggly, Stop & Shop, and Hy-Vee all had closures in 2021 and into 2022.

Whole Foods Market has been a chain of expansion throughout the past couple of decades and still is, though they closed six locations this past May. According to a Whole Foods Market spokesperson, the closures have to do with individual performance, they told Bloomberg. Parent company, Amazon, continues to revamp and upgrade the grocer with technological advances such as the “just walk out,” payment feature.

Kroger, the nation’s largest grocer with nearly 2,800 stores under the Kroger umbrella, closed stores in California, Washington, and Illinois. In an unpopular move, a Ralphs in Long Beach, California, closed when hazard pay for employees was introduced in most grocery stores, though the grocer says the closure was due to low sales. 

Two Sprouts in the San Francisco area closed in June. Reasoning was said to be due to the concentration of competing grocery stores in the immediate area.

Retail giant, Walmart, closed stores in Washington, Connecticut, Kentucky, and Ohio with weak store sales and will open new stores and maintain continued focus on high performing markets, expanding home delivery options, automated fulfillment centers and health care centers,

Southern grocery institution, Piggly Wiggly, closed locations in South Carolina and Tennessee in 2021. The 106-year-old grocer still remains across 17 states.

Stop & Shop closed several stores and nineteen pharmacies across the northeastern region in which they are based.

The Midwest’s Hy-Vee closed a few locations and then abandoned plans of two new stores the Minneapolis / St. Paul area due to the size not being sufficient.  “We’ve determined that there is a need for larger store formats that these current sites simply are not able to accommodate,” said Hy-Vee’s president and COO Jeremy Gosch to CBS news. Hy-Vee is now exploring neighboring land options to build new stores at.

Despite these difficulties, Kroger, Sprouts, and Whole Foods still frequent top retailers lists, such as Newsweek’s “America’s Best Retailers 2022.”