Remember when Kohl’s and Aldi teamed up to sell groceries? Well it looks like another popular retailer is going the grocery route—and this time, the retailer is closing altogether.
When Sears announced they’d filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October 2018, it was only a matter of time until store locations started to close. The first announcement was followed by 142 store closings, and in February, Sears Holdings (the company that owns Sears and Kmart) will close another 200+ locations. At the retailer’s prime, Sears had 687 locations and 68,000 employees.
Now with hundreds of locations closed (123 Sears and 205 Kmarts over the past three years), myriad empty lots can now be occupied by someone else who needs the sprawling space. So it’s no wonder that Whole Foods (owned by Amazon) may potentially be snagging up those empty lots soon.
Is Whole Foods doing that well?
According to CNBC’s reporting on the U.S. Grocery Market Share, Whole Foods accounted for just 1.21 percent of the grocery store market in 2016. This was right before Amazon purchased the grocery store for $13.7 billion in August 2017.
Since acquiring the grocery store, Amazon has worked hard to transform Whole Foods into a profitable business that can be even more affordable for its customers. Since then, Whole Foods has been rapidly expanding across the country. According to a report by Yahoo! Finance, the popular grocery now has 470 stores across the country and will continue to reach states that they haven’t expanded to yet—like Wyoming and Montana.
Whole Foods is also picking up traction with the public. According to Market Force Information, Whole Foods Market was ranked #10 in best grocery store overall by the public.
Does this mean every Sears will become a Whole Foods?
Right now, it’s all talk. But there’s a possibility that your local Sears (or Kmart) could become a Whole Foods. Yahoo! Finance reported that Whole Foods is currently eyeing sites that previously housed these retailers, along with other struggling retailers across the country.
“First and foremost, we’re looking for the best location we can find,” said Jim Sud, executive vice president of growth and business development at Whole Foods. If shuttered Sears locations meet all of the company’s criteria, “we’ll jump all over it,” he said.