As the 20th century progressed, the size of the standard supermarket had expanded considerably. In the 1930s, a store might have been in the 5,000 to 10,000 square foot range. By the 1960s, the 20,000 to 30,000 square foot model was the norm. This figure had increased to 50,000 square feet by the 1980s and to 65,000 square feet by the 1990s.

They often say that what is old is new again. This could also be said about the American Shopping Mall Supermarket. Gone and forgotten by the 1980s, the Mall Market is making a resurgence in the 21st century.

The reason for this backward shift is that, with the current economic recession, there is a glut of vacant anchor department store space at many a mall. Shopping center owner-operators, willing to do practically anything to fill such large vacancies, are negotiating lower leasing rates with potential supermarket tenants. 10 years ago, this would never have happened.

While it can't be said that every single shopping mall in this day and age has a shiny new grocery outlet as a trip generator, such things have become much more common than they were only 15 years ago.

The biggest food retail push into the typical American mall has been done by that well-known Arkansas-based retailer...the world's largest by any type of classification. WalMart Stores' SuperCenter concept, first introduced in 1988, includes a full fledged supermarket and has now been adapted into several IN-MALL (+) and AT-MALL (#) applications.

WALMART SUPERCENTER-ANCHORED SHOPPING MALLS:

*CHRISTOWN SPECTRUM, Phoenix, AZ +
[circa-1995 WalMart expanded into SuperCenter in 2003]
*MALL AT 163Rd STREET, Dade County, FL (2005) #
*PARMATOWN MALL (SHOPPES AT PARMA), Parma, OH +
[circa-2004 WalMart expanded into SuperCenter in 2010]

Washington State's Costco chain, whose stores carry food and general merchandise, has also established a shopping mall presence over the past few years. Earlier mall-based locations were mallway-connected...or IN-MALL (+) in format. However, the newer norm seems to be for Costco to purchase and raze an existing (and vacant) department store and replace it with an outparcel -or AT-MALL (#)- operation, with no interior mallway connection.

COSTCO-ANCHORED SHOPPING MALLS:

*CUMBERLAND MALL, Cobb County, Georgia (2007) #
*WESTGATE MALL, Spartanburg, SC (2007) #
*WESTFIELD WHEATON, Montgomery County, MD (2012) +

Minnesota's Target chain has also adapted its food-selling SuperTarget store model into a mall-based format. Stores can be of the IN-MALL (+) type or be AT-MALL; freestanding or mall-connected, without a connection with the interior mallway (#).

SUPERTARGET-ANCHORED SHOPPING MALLS:

*WONDERLAND OF THE AMERICAS, Balcones Heights, TX (2003) #
*SAWGRASS MILLS, Sunrise, FL (2006) +
[circa-1992 Target Greatland expanded into SuperTarget in 2006]
*CHRISTOWN SPECTRUM, Phoenix, AZ (2007)