Why NYC Grocery Stores That Cater to the Rich are Struggling Amid Coronavirus

The coronavirus has created a weird divide among the Big Apple’s grocery stores — and the supermarkets that cater to the rich have been caught on the wrong side.

Initial waves of citywide binge-shopping in mid-March spurred social media posts of wiped-out shelves and empty freezer bins at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. But since then, grocers across the New York metro area say business at many locations has fallen off dramatically. And it’s not just because shoppers have hunkered down with their outsize stacks of frozen steaks and TV dinners.

In rich neighborhoods like the Upper East Side and Upper West Side, supermarkets now stand mostly empty after initially getting cleaned out by their panic-stricken clientele. That’s because the well-heeled locals have since hightailed it out of town to wait out the pandemic in roomier digs in the Hamptons or the Berkshires, grocers say.

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