As superstores continue to make their way across the retail landscape, a new trend is emerging. Specialty and niche retailers are downsizing the American grocery store. A Food Marketing Institute study reports that grocery stores are averaging less than 40,000 square feet for the first time in a decade. The study shows that the average store in 2003 was 34,000 square feet.

New store construction has slowed, with most chains choosing to remodel instead. Little change has been seen in terms of store closings, which has held around 2.7 percent of all stores.

New stores account for 3.1 percent of all stores. Most of those new stores involve target markets such as natural/organic product lines, Hispanic and gourmet prototypes as the most popular trends today. Low-cost items (i.e. Dollar-item areas) are the single fastest growing merchandise category, with wine departments also popular. 

Food Marketing Institute