The New York Times reports that several supermarket and retail chains, including Safeway, Walmart, and Whole Foods, are beginning to experiment with much smaller store sizes that emphasize things like cafes, prepared meals, and produce. The idea is to emphasize speed over choice, and was apparently triggered by UK competitor Tesco, which has launched over 70 small-format supermarkets in Nevada, Arizona, and Southern California over the past year. Of course, the stores also require less shelf space for products than they did a year ago.
“The average person goes shopping for 22 minutes,” said Phil Lempert, who edits Supermarketguru.com, a Web site that tracks retail trends. “You can’t see 30,000 or 40,000 products. We are moving into an era when people want less assortment.”