Urban Fold

Supermarket Sweep

Large supermarkets in San Francisco are being replaced with higher-end specialty grocers, and some say it's a bad thing for many customers.

"Although Cala is making money, the profit margin for a large supermarket isn't large. Food costs are up, vendors are charging more to deliver products. Wages and insurance costs are rising."

"But more than that, supermarket sites are some of the last large real estate lots in the city. Eager developers are making such generous offers that store owners would be crazy to turn them down. No wonder supermarkets are an endangered species in the city."

"Increasingly, they are being replaced by specialized markets, places like Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, and the new Fresh and Easy markets from the United Kingdom. Boosters say those stores are no more expensive than the old neighborhood supermarket, but everyday shoppers would disagree."

"Many chains - such as Albertson's, Kroger's and others - have already abandoned the city, said Amy Cohen, director of neighborhood business development for the Mayor's Office of Economic and Workforce Development."

"'We have seen in San Francisco the impact of a shift in the grocery industry,' Cohen said. 'Many of the traditional full-service supermarkets are now focusing solely on suburban, large footprint stores with acres of parking and have pulled back their presence in San Francisco.'"

Full Story: Supermarkets an endangered species in S.F.


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