I'm sure it's a problem that one can encounter anywhere, from downtrodden industrial and agriculturual urban centers to suburbs to the inner city: too many grocery stores.
But, what's really sad is when you see a grocery store that was built just 10 years ago go under, or when a property never really seems to find a decent tenant, going through so many in a short period of time.
On a certain 4-mile long retail strip near me, there are probably a dozen grocery options:
Dominick's (regional chain owned by Safeway...#2 chain in Chicagoland)
Jewel-Osco (regional chain owned by Albertson's...#1 chain in Chicagoland)
Cub Foods (a regional chain)...used to be an Eagle (another smaller regional chain)
Aldi (smaller convenient grocer offering cheap prices and generics)
Meijer (massive superstore based out of MI)
Super Target (self-explanatory)
Trader Joe's (specialty foods)
Woodman's Market (Wisconsin-based warehouse grocer)
Can an area really sustain all these stores? Cub Foods is leaving next month. Unlike Eagle, which folded chain-wide, Cub is simply closing just this location because of it's failure to do business (in an area with $100K avg. household incomes and rapid population growth). Dominick's, with their high prices, chainwide problems, and half-empty parking lots is also a concern.
So what do you do? And what about these run-down industrial cities with empty big box after empty big box after empty big box? Nobody ever seems to want the old property (they would rather build new) and there are only so many grocers to fill the slot. Do you let non-grocery chains know about the property? And just how much grocery stores can an area handle? Or does it really all have to do with how well the store is managed and the quality of their products and which store is truly better?
Also, some areas might have the same problems with drug stores. They're not really a big issue in Chicagoland though. Walgreens owns the market and location placement down to a science.