by Micah Maidenberg, Crain's Chcago Business
Posted: Thursday, September 19, 2013 at 3:52PM EDT
Competition in the local grocery market is more cutthroat than ever, with high-end food palaces and discounters opening dozens of new outlets over the past four years.
Since 2009, the number of gourmet grocery stores in Chicago and its close-in suburbs doubled from 22 to 44, while the number of discount supermarkets jumped 19 percent, to 94, according to a report from Oakbrook Terrace-based Mid-American Real Estate Corp.
The expansion of upper- and lower-end stores has taken a bite out of traditional, full-service grocers like Dominick's, Jewel-Osco and locally owned chains. They've closed 8 percent of their stores in Mid-America's study area, dropping from 161 to 148 outlets between 2009 and this August, according to the report.
“We just have a deep level of specialized concepts that fit different niches,” said Mid-America Principal Dan Tausk, who authored the study. “It's making the longtime grocers react.”
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