Aldi, Lidl, other discount stores (and Walmart) giving supermarkets stiff competition during soaring inflation

Competition for Long Islanders' grocery dollars is heating up as new players enter the market and shoppers look for ways to cope with rising food prices. 

Margot Aziz of Huntington is typical.  With two kids in college and inflation hitting a 40-year high,  she's shifted most of her food shopping from a decades-old traditional grocery store to Lidl, a Germany-based discount grocer that entered the local market in 2019 by buying 27 supermarkets from Bethpage-based Best Market, including all 24 on Long Island.   

“I have to because, otherwise, I can’t make the budget,” said Aziz, 50, who said she also shops at King Kullen, Target, ShopRite and Stop & Shop to make up for what she can’t find at Lidl. 

“But Lidl has a lot,” she said.

Several factors, including shoppers looking for lower prices, increased online grocery shopping and growing interest in specialty ethnic foods, all mean consumers are spreading their dollars across more places, experts said.  That's putting the squeeze on traditional supermarkets. 

And Long Islanders are not alone. Today, 61% of American shoppers use nontraditional stores — such as discount grocers, wholesale clubs, and supercenters like Walmart and Target — for their primary grocery shopping, compared with less than 20% 20 years ago, according to Solomon Partners, a financial services company in Manhattan. The average American household shops for food weekly at five different retailers, including  drugstores, dollar stores and online, according to the firm. 

For retailers, the stakes are high. Long Islanders spent $11.4 billion on groceries in the 12-month period that ended March 31,  according to a June report from Food Trade News, a Columbia, Maryland-based trade publication.

The number of grocery stores on Long Island is shrinking, led mostly by a loss of  traditional supermarkets  from events including the 2015 closure of 51 Waldbaum’s and Pathmark stores after their parent company filed for bankruptcy (some were scooped up by competitors), the sale of Best Market, and the bankruptcy of Fairway Market.  At the same time, the number of limited-assortment discount grocery stores, like Lidl and Aldi, and nontraditional grocery sellers, such as Dollar General, Costco and BJ’s Wholesale Club, is growing as those chains expand. 

The number of supermarkets and other grocery stores in Suffolk County declined from 500 in 2011 to 365 in 2021, a 27%  decrease, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In Nassau, the number dropped from 544 to 409, a 24.8%  decrease. The numbers do not include warehouse clubs, supercenters or convenience stores.

In addition to the rise of discounters, “ethnic specialty grocers are also doing exceptionally well,” said Scott Moses, a Roslyn native and head of grocery, pharmacy and the restaurants investment banking group at Solomon Partners.

Also, online players — Walmart, Target, Costco and Amazon are the largest online grocers — are taking a growing share of the pie.

The retail landscape shift has been highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Supermarkets have been pillars of thousands of American communities for generations, doing Herculean work to feed the country during crisis after crisis, COVID being the most recent example," Moses said. 

On Long Island, the same two traditional grocery chains have stayed on top:  Stop & Shop, with a shrinking but still commanding 19.07% market share, followed by ShopRite, at 9.13%, according to Food Trade News.  But below them, there has been a reshuffling.

In 2017, Long Island-based King Kullen  was third, followed by CVS, Costco and BJ's. This year, Costco is in third place with 8.21% of the market, followed by CVS with 6.75%, BJs with 6.21% and King Kullen, now in sixth place, with 6.02%.   

 

7-Eleven moved up the ranks, from 13th to seventh on Long Island, where the chain of convenience stores sells more groceries than Walmart, Target, Key Food, Uncle Giuseppe’s, Whole Foods Market and Trader Joe's.

While discounters Lidl and Aldi didn't make Long Island's top 10, consumers struggling with inflation today are more willing to try the private-label brands they specialize in than in past years, grocery experts said.

A recent Lending Tree survey with 526 respondents who were parents with children younger than 18 showed 54% changing to generic brands and 24% switching to stores with lower prices.

The nation's fastest-growing grocery retailers in sales, including Amazon, Walmart, Costco, Aldi and Dollar General, are the grocery giants that can use their lower cost of capital to invest in price, wages, marketing, technology and growth, Moses said. 

If a company can borrow more cheaply, "that means they have greater capacity to lower prices for customers and also to ... absorb cost inflation from their suppliers without passing it on to customers," he said.

Moses has advised grocers on the sales of their companies or stores, including advising Best Market on its sale to Lidl, Kings Food/Balducci’s on its sale to Albertsons, and Fairway on its bankruptcy sales.

He said specialty ethnic chains, while smaller, are also growing  because they are serving an overlooked segment of consumers.

Port Washington-based Associated Supermarket Group provides grocery distribution, marketing and store financing to 270 independently owned grocery stores in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions, including on Long Island at stores such as Compare Foods, which are Hispanic-format supermarkets; Maharaja Farmers Market, a chain specializing in Indian foods; and Uncle Giuseppe's Marketplace, a high-end chain specializing in Italian foods.

The store counts of Long Island grocers supplied by ASG are growing, from 42 to about 60 in five years, and 35% of those stores specialize in ethnic food, ASG spokeswoman Michelle Mendoza said.

"The opportunity for ASG to continue growing its store count will be with communities seeking both international flavors and foods, as well as the need for mainstream products in the home. Independent operators recognize the importance of serving diverse communities and ASG provides multiple ad-buying plans that a store can follow to meet the immediate area needs," she said.

Uncle Giuseppe’s, a family-owned grocer with  10 stores, including seven on Long Island, has seen significant growth since before the pandemic and reinvested the money into expansion, said Carl DelPrete, CEO and co-founder of the Melville-based chain.

“We’ve been very fortunate as we’ve come out of the COVID period that our customer base has expanded … we picked up a nice amount of business during that period and it stayed with us,” he said of the chain, which has about 2,200 employees.

Uncle Giuseppe’s opened a North Babylon store in a former King Kullen space in 2020, and plans to double the size of its Port Washington store to 22,000 square feet next year, DelPrete said.

Founded in 1998, Uncle Giuseppe’s has been able to carve out a niche to set itself apart from the competition by focusing on a high level of customer service, which includes having fresh food that is prepared on site daily and not having self-checkout stations, he said.

“There are definitely some good operators out there, but I think we do it better,” he said.

Sales at traditional grocery stores are relatively flat nationwide while growth of food spending is being seen now at alternative retailers, said Jon Hauptman, senior director of Inmar Intelligence, a retail industry analytics company in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

High inflation is accelerating changing consumer trends as shoppers seek bargains, but that doesn’t mean traditional supermarkets can't compete, he said. They just have to do it by standing out in ways outside of prices.

“I think the strong and differentiated traditional supermarkets will be just fine because they offer things that discount formats don’t, such as a much wider variety, an emphasis on fresh products, strong service and focus on the community,” Hauptman said.

Supermarkets still account for most of the groceries sold on Long Island, though that share has declined in the past several years.

Among the top 20 retail grocery sellers on Long Island in 2022, supermarkets account for 57.7% of all grocery sales, down from 62.7% in 2017, according to Food Trade News.

Hauppauge-based King Kullen Grocery Co., with 27 King Kullen supermarkets and five Wild by Nature natural food stores, is the largest family-owned chain left on Long Island, with nearly 3,000 unionized employees. 

Quincy, Massachusetts-based Stop & Shop, the biggest grocery chain on Long Island, with 50 stores,  planned to buy King Kullen in a deal announced in January 2019.  But the sale was called off in June 2020 for undisclosed reasons.

Remaining independent and locally owned with full-service stores has created a loyal customer base for King Kullen for nearly a century, said Joseph W. Brown, the chain’s president and chief operating officer.

The new grocers competing on Long Island limit their service and variety, which bodes well for King Kullen, Brown said. “Many of our competitors are non-union. Many are owned by large conglomerates.” 

King Kullen is facing the same challenges that most grocers are facing, such as lingering supply chain issues; the steeply rising costs of food, insurance and utilities; and difficulty in finding enough workers, he said.

It has closed a dozen stores since 2015.

“There are a number of reasons that stores are closed, including expiring leases with excessive renewal rates, the age of a store, and changes in competition in a particular location. During this same time, we have renewed a number of store leases, taking us well into the future for those stores," Brown said.

The company is focusing on responding to changing consumer demand, which includes remodeling some stores, such as its Rockville Centre supermarket, which got a refresh in June, and the Wading River store, which will be updated soon, he said.

“We’ve made it in business this long, 92 years, by anticipating those consumer demands and keeping customers happy by meeting their needs,” Brown said.

With a high median income among residents, Long Island has long been a desirable location for new retailers looking to enter the market.

But it presents unique challenges because of its high costs of doing business and lack of available real estate, said Wantagh native Jeff Metzger, publisher of Food Trade News.

Aldi, Lidl and Trader Joe’s, all of which are national chains classified as limited-assortment grocers — discounters that sell a high percentage of their own private-label brands and whose stores are typically much smaller than traditional supermarkets — can  work within those real estate limits  more easily than traditional grocers, he said.

Their smaller footprint "provides greater flexibility and opportunity for those merchants to enter marketing areas where real estate is tight and/or very expensive and larger sites are not readily available," Metzger said. In the past five years, looking from New England to the Carolinas, the smaller-sized discounters have added  stores at four times the rate of  supermarket, club and drugstore chains, he said. 

Long Island’s grocery landscape also is different from what is typical nationwide because the nation’s largest grocery retailer, Walmart, has not even cracked the top five among all stores that sell groceries on the Island. 

The attrition of grocers on Long Island over the past several years has created new opportunities for competitors, particularly smaller stores, Metzger said, but for larger-format stores, such as "a Wegmans or a club store or a Walmart, that’s tough ... because [accessing] footprints that big is challenging.” 

Last spring, high-end grocer Wegmans announced plans for its first Long Island store, to be located in Lake Grove. 

All grocers are looking for sales growth now, and that requires moving into new areas, said David Mandell, who owns eight grocery stores, including four Holiday Farms Supermarkets on Long Island.

He opened one in March in a Woodbury space that The Fresh Market vacated in 2017, and  another  this week in a Franklin Square space that King Kullen vacated in July. 

Regardless of how big or successful a chain is, "everyone is about growth right now," said Mandell, whose stores employ about 300 people.

Discount competitors are not as much of a concern for him as Amazon Fresh and Wegmans are, because their target demographics are similar to his, he said. 

“Every store is different.  We really market towards the neighborhoods.  Each store has its own diverse community and we’re … a lot more nimble than Trader Joe’s or Aldi or Lidl,” Mandell said.

His biggest concern, he said, is online grocery competition.

Nationwide, the share of grocery shopping done online tripled to 13% from 2018 to 2021, due mostly to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the amount is expected to increase to 20.5% by 2026, according to Solomon Partners.

Margot Aziz of Huntington is typical.  With two kids in college and inflation hitting a 40-year high,  she's shifted most of her food shopping from a decades-old traditional grocery store to Lidl, a Germany-based discount grocer that entered the local market in 2019 by buying 27 supermarkets from Bethpage-based Best Market, including all 24 on Long Island.   

“I have to because, otherwise, I can’t make the budget,” said Aziz, 50, who said she also shops at King Kullen, Target, ShopRite and Stop & Shop to make up for what she can’t find at Lidl. 

“But Lidl has a lot,” she said.

Several factors, including shoppers looking for lower prices, increased online grocery shopping and growing interest in specialty ethnic foods, all mean consumers are spreading their dollars across more places, experts said.  That's putting the squeeze on traditional supermarkets. 

And Long Islanders are not alone. Today, 61% of American shoppers use nontraditional stores — such as discount grocers, wholesale clubs, and supercenters like Walmart and Target — for their primary grocery shopping, compared with less than 20% 20 years ago, according to Solomon Partners, a financial services company in Manhattan. The average American household shops for food weekly at five different retailers, including  drugstores, dollar stores and online, according to the firm. 

Annual food sales at stores that sell groceries, including supermarkets, drugstores and warehouse clubs, total $11.4 billion on Long Island. Source: Food Trade News, June report.

For retailers, the stakes are high. Long Islanders spent $11.4 billion on groceries in the 12-month period that ended March 31,  according to a June report from Food Trade News, a Columbia, Maryland-based trade publication.

Changing players

The number of grocery stores on Long Island is shrinking, led mostly by a loss of  traditional supermarkets  from events including the 2015 closure of 51 Waldbaum’s and Pathmark stores after their parent company filed for bankruptcy (some were scooped up by competitors), the sale of Best Market, and the bankruptcy of Fairway Market.  At the same time, the number of limited-assortment discount grocery stores, like Lidl and Aldi, and nontraditional grocery sellers, such as Dollar General, Costco and BJ’s Wholesale Club, is growing as those chains expand. 

The Aldi grocer in Bohemia on Aug. 25.

The Aldi grocer in Bohemia on Aug. 25. Credit: Morgan Campbell

The number of supermarkets and other grocery stores in Suffolk County declined from 500 in 2011 to 365 in 2021, a 27%  decrease, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In Nassau, the number dropped from 544 to 409, a 24.8%  decrease. The numbers do not include warehouse clubs, supercenters or convenience stores.

In addition to the rise of discounters, “ethnic specialty grocers are also doing exceptionally well,” said Scott Moses, a Roslyn native and head of grocery, pharmacy and the restaurants investment banking group at Solomon Partners.

Also, online players — Walmart, Target, Costco and Amazon are the largest online grocers — are taking a growing share of the pie.

The retail landscape shift has been highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Supermarkets have been pillars of thousands of American communities for generations, doing Herculean work to feed the country during crisis after crisis, COVID being the most recent example," Moses said. 

Reshuffle in the ranks

On Long Island, the same two traditional grocery chains have stayed on top:  Stop & Shop, with a shrinking but still commanding 19.07% market share, followed by ShopRite, at 9.13%, according to Food Trade News.  But below them, there has been a reshuffling.

In 2017, Long Island-based King Kullen  was third, followed by CVS, Costco and BJ's. This year, Costco is in third place with 8.21% of the market, followed by CVS with 6.75%, BJs with 6.21% and King Kullen, now in sixth place, with 6.02%.   

 

7-Eleven moved up the ranks, from 13th to seventh on Long Island, where the chain of convenience stores sells more groceries than Walmart, Target, Key Food, Uncle Giuseppe’s, Whole Foods Market and Trader Joe's.

While discounters Lidl and Aldi didn't make Long Island's top 10, consumers struggling with inflation today are more willing to try the private-label brands they specialize in than in past years, grocery experts said.

A recent Lending Tree survey with 526 respondents who were parents with children younger than 18 showed 54% changing to generic brands and 24% switching to stores with lower prices.

Serving diverse consumers

The nation's fastest-growing grocery retailers in sales, including Amazon, Walmart, Costco, Aldi and Dollar General, are the grocery giants that can use their lower cost of capital to invest in price, wages, marketing, technology and growth, Moses said. 

If a company can borrow more cheaply, "that means they have greater capacity to lower prices for customers and also to ... absorb cost inflation from their suppliers without passing it on to customers," he said.

Moses has advised grocers on the sales of their companies or stores, including advising Best Market on its sale to Lidl, Kings Food/Balducci’s on its sale to Albertsons, and Fairway on its bankruptcy sales.

He said specialty ethnic chains, while smaller, are also growing  because they are serving an overlooked segment of consumers.

Port Washington-based Associated Supermarket Group provides grocery distribution, marketing and store financing to 270 independently owned grocery stores in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions, including on Long Island at stores such as Compare Foods, which are Hispanic-format supermarkets; Maharaja Farmers Market, a chain specializing in Indian foods; and Uncle Giuseppe's Marketplace, a high-end chain specializing in Italian foods.

The store counts of Long Island grocers supplied by ASG are growing, from 42 to about 60 in five years, and 35% of those stores specialize in ethnic food, ASG spokeswoman Michelle Mendoza said.

"The opportunity for ASG to continue growing its store count will be with communities seeking both international flavors and foods, as well as the need for mainstream products in the home. Independent operators recognize the importance of serving diverse communities and ASG provides multiple ad-buying plans that a store can follow to meet the immediate area needs," she said.

Uncle Giuseppe’s, a family-owned grocer with  10 stores, including seven on Long Island, has seen significant growth since before the pandemic and reinvested the money into expansion, said Carl DelPrete, CEO and co-founder of the Melville-based chain.

Philip DelPrete, president and co-founder of Uncle Giuseppe's Marketplace, on Sept....

Philip DelPrete, president and co-founder of Uncle Giuseppe's Marketplace, on Sept. 2, in Melville. Credit: Chris Ware

“We’ve been very fortunate as we’ve come out of the COVID period that our customer base has expanded … we picked up a nice amount of business during that period and it stayed with us,” he said of the chain, which has about 2,200 employees.

Uncle Giuseppe’s opened a North Babylon store in a former King Kullen space in 2020, and plans to double the size of its Port Washington store to 22,000 square feet next year, DelPrete said.

Rob Burnham, 51, of West Babylon, shopped at the Uncle Giuseppe’s Marketplace in Melville on Sept. 2.

'We usually shop here for certain items and we’ll go to Stop & Shop as well ... I’d rather spend money on good food and not have to throw it away.'

Founded in 1998, Uncle Giuseppe’s has been able to carve out a niche to set itself apart from the competition by focusing on a high level of customer service, which includes having fresh food that is prepared on site daily and not having self-checkout stations, he said.

“There are definitely some good operators out there, but I think we do it better,” he said.

Ways to stand out

Sales at traditional grocery stores are relatively flat nationwide while growth of food spending is being seen now at alternative retailers, said Jon Hauptman, senior director of Inmar Intelligence, a retail industry analytics company in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

High inflation is accelerating changing consumer trends as shoppers seek bargains, but that doesn’t mean traditional supermarkets can't compete, he said. They just have to do it by standing out in ways outside of prices.

“I think the strong and differentiated traditional supermarkets will be just fine because they offer things that discount formats don’t, such as a much wider variety, an emphasis on fresh products, strong service and focus on the community,” Hauptman said.

Supermarkets still account for most of the groceries sold on Long Island, though that share has declined in the past several years.

Among the top 20 retail grocery sellers on Long Island in 2022, supermarkets account for 57.7% of all grocery sales, down from 62.7% in 2017, according to Food Trade News.

Hauppauge-based King Kullen Grocery Co., with 27 King Kullen supermarkets and five Wild by Nature natural food stores, is the largest family-owned chain left on Long Island, with nearly 3,000 unionized employees. 

King Kullen's president and chief operating officer, Joseph W. Brown,...

King Kullen's president and chief operating officer, Joseph W. Brown, outside the King Kullen store in Patchogue, Aug. 23, 2022. Credit: Gordon M. Grant

Quincy, Massachusetts-based Stop & Shop, the biggest grocery chain on Long Island, with 50 stores,  planned to buy King Kullen in a deal announced in January 2019.  But the sale was called off in June 2020 for undisclosed reasons.

Remaining independent and locally owned with full-service stores has created a loyal customer base for King Kullen for nearly a century, said Joseph W. Brown, the chain’s president and chief operating officer.

King Kullen's president and chief operating officer, Joseph W. Brown,...

King Kullen's president and chief operating officer, Joseph W. Brown, inside the King Kullen store in Patchogue, Aug. 23, 2022. Credit: Gordon M. Grant

The new grocers competing on Long Island limit their service and variety, which bodes well for King Kullen, Brown said. “Many of our competitors are non-union. Many are owned by large conglomerates.” 

King Kullen is facing the same challenges that most grocers are facing, such as lingering supply chain issues; the steeply rising costs of food, insurance and utilities; and difficulty in finding enough workers, he said.

It has closed a dozen stores since 2015.

“There are a number of reasons that stores are closed, including expiring leases with excessive renewal rates, the age of a store, and changes in competition in a particular location. During this same time, we have renewed a number of store leases, taking us well into the future for those stores," Brown said.

The company is focusing on responding to changing consumer demand, which includes remodeling some stores, such as its Rockville Centre supermarket, which got a refresh in June, and the Wading River store, which will be updated soon, he said.

“We’ve made it in business this long, 92 years, by anticipating those consumer demands and keeping customers happy by meeting their needs,” Brown said.

The Long Island difference 

With a high median income among residents, Long Island has long been a desirable location for new retailers looking to enter the market.

But it presents unique challenges because of its high costs of doing business and lack of available real estate, said Wantagh native Jeff Metzger, publisher of Food Trade News.

Aldi, Lidl and Trader Joe’s, all of which are national chains classified as limited-assortment grocers — discounters that sell a high percentage of their own private-label brands and whose stores are typically much smaller than traditional supermarkets — can  work within those real estate limits  more easily than traditional grocers, he said.

Patty Cheung, 51, of Great Neck, was in the new Aldi store in Bohemia on Aug. 25.

'Their stuff is great and, like, you can’t beat the prices compared to the regular stores. They just don’t carry everything because they’re very specific with what they carry.'

Their smaller footprint "provides greater flexibility and opportunity for those merchants to enter marketing areas where real estate is tight and/or very expensive and larger sites are not readily available," Metzger said. In the past five years, looking from New England to the Carolinas, the smaller-sized discounters have added  stores at four times the rate of  supermarket, club and drugstore chains, he said. 

Long Island’s grocery landscape also is different from what is typical nationwide because the nation’s largest grocery retailer, Walmart, has not even cracked the top five among all stores that sell groceries on the Island. 

The attrition of grocers on Long Island over the past several years has created new opportunities for competitors, particularly smaller stores, Metzger said, but for larger-format stores, such as "a Wegmans or a club store or a Walmart, that’s tough ... because [accessing] footprints that big is challenging.” 

Last spring, high-end grocer Wegmans announced plans for its first Long Island store, to be located in Lake Grove. 

Vanessa Sosa, left, and Benny Sosa, 10, from Glen Head...

Vanessa Sosa, left, and Benny Sosa, 10, from Glen Head pick out produce at Holiday Farms grocer in Glen Head on Aug. 26. Credit: Morgan Campbell

All grocers are looking for sales growth now, and that requires moving into new areas, said David Mandell, who owns eight grocery stores, including four Holiday Farms Supermarkets on Long Island.

He opened one in March in a Woodbury space that The Fresh Market vacated in 2017, and  another  this week in a Franklin Square space that King Kullen vacated in July. 

Kevin McGilloway, 73, of Sea Cliff, was shopping at a Holiday Farms in Glen Head on Aug. 26.

'I don’t do the price comparison shopping. It’s convenience, the people here are nice ... the aisles and everything seem easier to navigate.'

Regardless of how big or successful a chain is, "everyone is about growth right now," said Mandell, whose stores employ about 300 people.

Discount competitors are not as much of a concern for him as Amazon Fresh and Wegmans are, because their target demographics are similar to his, he said. 

“Every store is different.  We really market towards the neighborhoods.  Each store has its own diverse community and we’re … a lot more nimble than Trader Joe’s or Aldi or Lidl,” Mandell said.

His biggest concern, he said, is online grocery competition.

Nationwide, the share of grocery shopping done online tripled to 13% from 2018 to 2021, due mostly to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the amount is expected to increase to 20.5% by 2026, according to Solomon Partners.

New and expanding players

Long Island took a big hit in traditional grocery options in 2015, when 51 Waldbaum’s and Pathmark supermarkets closed after their parent company, Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.  

A lot has changed in grocery retailing on Long Island since then:

New players

  • Several new national or regional grocers have entered the Long Island market, such as tech-heavy Amazon Fresh, Asian grocer 99 Ranch Market, Food Bazaar and discount grocer Lidl.  Amazon, whose first Amazon Fresh store in New York state opened in a former Waldbaum’s space in Oceanside in July, is planning to open two more on Long Island — one will be in part of a former Waldbaum’s space in East Setauket and the other will be in a former Fairway Market space in Plainview.  The stores feature technology that allows customers to skip checkout lanes.  
  • High-end grocer Wegmans is expecting to make its Long Island debut with a new store in Lake Grove "sometime around" 2024, a spokeswoman said.
  • Stew Leonard’s, a small, family-owned supermarket chain based in Norwalk, Connecticut, entered the Long Island market, where it opened a Farmingdale store in a former Dave & Buster’s space in 2016 and an East Meadow store in a former Pathmark space in 2017.
  • Best Farms opened stores in two former Best Market spaces — in Hicksville in 2019 and West Islip in 2021 — after buying the inventory, equipment and leases of the closed stores.
  • Food delivery company DoorDash introduced its DashMart convenience store to Long Island with a store that opened in West Babylon in May.  A second DashMart will open in Huntington in the fourth quarter of this year, a spokeswoman said. DashMart stores allow customers to order groceries, household goods and restaurant items on an app and then receive their purchases by delivery or by going to the stores to pick up the goods at dedicated pickup areas or windows.

Fewer traditional players

  • Fairway Market's parent company closed its Lake Grove store in 2016 after a bankrupcy filing and its two other Long Island stores — in Plainview and Westbury — after a bankruptcy filing in 2020. 
  • King Kullen Grocery Co. Inc. had a net decline of 12 stores, leaving 27 King Kullen supermarkets and five Wild by Nature natural food stores. 
  • Six Foodtown stores closed, leaving four on Long Island.
  • Best Market's 24 Long Island stores are gone since being bought by discounter Lidl.

Expanding players

  • High-end Whole Foods Market doubled its number of Long Island stores to six and it has another planned for Huntington. 
  • Walmart opened its third supercenter on Long Island with a new store in Yaphank in 2021 and converted its then-13-year-old store in Farmingdale to a supercenter in 2020. 
  • Aldi, a German discount grocer that entered the Long Island market in 2011, now has 10 stores on the Island, including one it opened in Bohemia on Aug. 25, one it opened in Shirley in 2021 and two it opened in Valley Stream and North Babylon at a former Pathmark site in 2020.  The chain plans to open a Carle Place store by the end of this year and is “pursuing a location” in Central Islip.
  • A new ShopRite will open in Huntington in the fall.  There are 16 ShopRite stores on Long Island, including two Lake Ronkonkoma and Riverhead stores that opened in 2018 in former Waldbaum’s spaces and a Port Jefferson Station store that opened in a former Pathmark space in 2019.  Wakefern Food Corp., a retailer-owned cooperative based in Keasbey, New Jersey, that owns the ShopRite registered trademark, supplies groceries and support to nearly 280 independently owned ShopRite stores in six East Coast states.