Why Whole Foods, Wegmans are Moving into Philly-area Malls

by Suzette Parmley

Call it a marriage of convenience or basic survival, but malls are again courting supermarkets to fill department store vacancies and appeal to a selective food customer.

A Whole Foods market will open later this year at Exton Square Mall, following another at Plymouth Meeting Mall and a Wegmans at Montgomery Mall. Other chains, such as ShopRite, are scoping out mall spaces long occupied by Macy’s, Sears, and J.C. Penney.

Nationally, grocery stores are reentering spaces long reserved for fashion retailers: Jimbo’s, a specialty food chain much like Whole Foods, opened at Westfield Horton Plaza in San Diego; Wegmans is replacing a Penneys near Boston; and College Mall in Bloomington, Ind., will welcome 365 by Whole Foods Market this fall.

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