According to data from The Nielsen Co., Chicago, convenience and value are driving growth in the number of U.S. food stores. Except for mass merchandisers, all store formats experienced an increase in unit number in 2013, as compared to 2014. Among mainstream supermarkets, unit growth came from niche formats, such as natural products retailers, produce/fresh foods-centric concepts and discount private-label chains. Examples include Save-A-Lot, Aldi, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. In 2013, Aldi reported having 1,283 units. The company plans to open 650 more stores by 2018. Whole Foods Market, with 353 units open for business in 2013, has plans for 1,200 additional units in the very near future.
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