Notwithstanding jitters over Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods among grocery stores, investors are still chomping at the bit for grocery-anchored strip centers while they flee traditional retail centers. Green Street Research said in a recent report that grocery-anchored shopping centers are priced to deliver superior private-market returns compared to “power centers.”
But wait a minute, this morning the Wall Street Journal reported that grocers have been hit by a glut of retail space. If we peel back the onion (that’s grocery talk) we find that developers have produced 4.15 square feet per capita of retail food space according to Co-Star, which is 30 times the amount of space allocated 30 years ago. Wal-Mart, Target and other mega stores have also piled-on grocery offerings while consumers are shifting shopping and eating habits, moving closer to a snack culture.
The net net is that all the hub-bub over grocery-anchored centers being a safe haven in the midst of the retail carnage doesn’t quite add up.