TIME Companies

Influx of City Dwellers Pushes Big Chain Grocers to Go Small

Chains Walmart, Target and Hy-Vee are all shrinking their store's floor space to cram themselves into urban locations

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Big-box supermarkets from Walmart to Target to Hy-Vee are taking up the practice of fitting themselves into ever-smaller stores, because they say that’s what their consumers want, especially as more young people gravitate toward cities over the suburbs.

As Target’s Executive VP for Property Development put it, the move to smaller spaces with a narrower selection is about “remaining convenient,” at least geographically.

Walmart ramped up its expansion of smaller store locations in February and hopes to have up to 300 newer, more compact locations in place by the end of the year.

Of course, everything is relative. The average Hy-Vee store is 85,000 square feet, but the new outlets will still contain a deli, pharmacy and a cafe, in a 14,00 square foot space.

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