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Small-format is in — just ask Sprouts and BJ’s

A new analysis by shows smaller footprint stores are thriving at two very different grocery chains

Small-format grocery stores are gaining popularity, and a new report by shows that both Sprouts Farmers Market and BJ’s Wholesale Club are reaping the rewards from their new smaller footprint locations. 

Sprouts began its small-format program in January 2022 and has “doubled down” on the strategy over the last few years. “And partially thanks to this expansion effort, Sprout saw visits to its smaller format stores increase by nearly 50.0% over the same period – helping the brand outpace the overall grocery sector in early 2024,” said in a blog post. 

As a “pioneer in the small-format grocery space,” the chain is giving competitors Whole Foods Market and Trader Joe’s a run for their money. Whole Foods announced in March that it’s launching Whole Foods Market Daily Shop, 7,000- to 14,000-square-foot stores that are substantially smaller than its typical 40,000-square-foot store. 

BJ’s Wholesale Club also launched its small-format concept, BJ’s Market, in 2022, and for the first five months of 2024, its location in Warwick, R.I., has experienced year-over-year growth. 

“Unsurprisingly, the average visit stay at the small format BJ’s in May 2024 was significantly shorter than the average stay at BJ’s in Rhode Island and at the chain nationwide (21 minutes, versus 27.6 and 30.7 minutes, respectively). And people tended to drop by the Warwick BJ’s more frequently – with 55.0% of visitors visiting the location at least twice during the month, compared to just 37.5% in Rhode Island and 38.7% nationwide,” the blog post noted. noted that the program’s success shows a “clear demand for quicker, more frequent and more efficient shopping experience in the wholesale space, and BJ’s is seizing the opportunity.”

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