Sears filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in October, leaving 188 stores sitting vacant in the last three years. Accordingly, Whole Foods, a supermarket under Amazon, is looking at these empty establishments.
Amazon’s Whole Foods seems interested in moving to the buildings vacated by Sears Holding stores, Sears and Kmart. A report says that Amazon is considering these places as possible locations for Whole Foods Supermarket. Sears made a good mark in the U.S, and it covers a vast demographic, which is good for Whole Foods to expand faster at pretty low cost. Also, former Sears’ sites are located near well-populated areas and have well-built parking lots, and it is impossible for establishments to rent these enormous locations at a high price after being abandoned for years.
Neil Saunder from Global Data says that landlords are anxious to bring supermarkets to bigger shopping areas because these stores can attract more foot traffic. Saunder noted that he had observed it in his city where a local mall started to get more customers after housing a supermarket. He added that before that grocery store, he never visited a mall, now, he finds himself buying groceries at that mall a number of times each month.
On the other hand, it is still not sure if Amazon is going to follow through on filling these former department store locations. As online shopping becomes easier and more accessible, maybe moving into brick and mortar locations is not the best move for the company. People only drag themselves to a traditional store when they need some fresh smoothie or ingredient that they immediately need. Also, if door-to-door grocery delivery dominates the shopping scene, supermarkets may become obsolete.