Published On May 15, 2019  
in  Grocery and Retail Real Estate Industry

In March and April, we welcomed a change in seasons, and appropriately we have also welcomed change in the retail world—along with a little extra greenery. Major trends included shifting retailer formats, further emphasis on convenience (especially in the grocery sector), and a huge herbal elephant in the room—CBD, or hemp-derived cannabidiol. Let’s take a look at how we got small, went fast, and started going green (in a different way) in the retail landscape last month.

Smaller Format Stores
Perhaps in an effort to see if smaller is stronger, several major retailers and larger-format concepts are testing a decreased footprint. Aldi UK has implemented “Aldi Local” in London, which clocks in at only 6,500 square feet. Although the company insists that the new store does not indicate a push into the convenience store sector, we may see further rollout of the smaller stores. Another concept on the small-scale “fore”-front is golf entertainment venue, Topgolf. The move should help the group swing into small and midsize markets. Finally, Whole Foods is not delivering their whole package in their new Chelsea store dubbed “Daily Market.” The store is dedicated to grab-and-go food and travel items and includes self-checkouts for the extra-busy New Yorker.

Convenience is Still Key
Convenience continues to trend with grocers implementing a counter-intuitive movement to get customers in and out quickly. Walmart announced they would allow customers to return items to concierge employees at the front of their stores rather than waiting in lengthy return lines. Grocer Stop & Shop has implemented a mobile-checkout feature to 23 Chicago-area stores, which allows customers to completely skip the checkout and any human interaction. Kroger is also merging tech with convenience, “rolling out” autonomous delivery vehicles. They’re starting the fleet in the Houston market and plan to aggressively expand the concept by the end of the year.

Retailers Going “Green”
We have also seen an emphasis in going green in the first quarter of 2019, and not just in reference to sustainability movements. CBD, a hemp-derived product with virtually no THC (the component in marijuana that produces an intoxicating effect), has gone mainstream. Both Walgreens and CVS have announced plans to sell various products that include the herbal component. Designer Shoe Warehouse (DSW) has also entered into a partnership with a major CBD distributor to sell balms, lotions, and other topical creams. Even Carl’s Jr. tested the CBD waters with a CBD-infused burger, exclusively sold on April 20th in Denver.

Innovation and an open mind are proving critical in keeping consumers engaged and satisfied. We are looking forward to seeing what retail innovators will bring consumers for the next half of the year. For more of the latest retail trends and insights, make sure you check out our Retail Intel podcast!

Ashley Casey
Ashley Casey
Director of National Accounts - West