- Four Albertsons and Vons stores in and around Las Vegas announced they will no longer be open 24 hours, Vegas’s KTNV reports.
- The new store hours will be 5am to midnight.
- The move is an effort by Albertsons, the Boise, Idaho-based retailer and owner of Vons, to “strengthen operational efficiencies.”
Grocery stores open around the clock came into their own back in the early ‘70s, when large chains adopted the practice to stand out in what was becoming an increasingly crowded industry. In 1972, 4% of supermarkets earning $500,000 or more a year had moved to 24-hour service.
Back then, these grocers saw an assortment of customers coming in at all hours. “Families with a car available only for shopping at night; women whose husbands are home from work taking care of their children,” a Milwaukee Sentinel article from the time says. “Someone who needs milk or aspirin in an emergency; partygoers buying snacks sometimes several times during the night; men coming off late work shifts; families that want their whole day free for recreation; and even some insomniacs.”
A similar assortment of shoppers and drop-ins, slightly adjusted to modern times, still rely on 24-hour service. But many of them are looking to convenience stores, of which there are more than 150,000 in the U.S. Not only are there lots of them, but convenience stores have also optimized their product selection over the years to cater to night owls. They have the aspirin, milk, snacks and even some prepared foods for hungry partiers. According to the National Association of Convenience Stores, 90% of America’s convenience stores operate 24 hours a day.
Supermarkets have a large assortment of products, but their large size makes them more expensive to keep open. Given the tough competition and operational costs, all-night grocery can be a tough sell, even in Sin City.