Never before in America has so much retail square footage been devoted to selling food—and it is too much.
A massive build-out by retailers has left the country piled up with grocery shelves as consumers are shifting from big weekly shopping trips to more snacking and to-go meals. The mismatch has flattened retail sales and leaves the industry vulnerable to a wave of closures that some executives, bankers and industry experts think is coming soon.
Commercial square footage of retail food space per capita last year set a record, with 4.15 square feet of food retail per person, according to CoStar Group, a commercial real-estate firm—nearly 30 times the amount of space allocated to groceries at major chains in 1950.
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