- After Sunday, Hy-Vee will no longer operate 24 hours a day, the retailer told Grocery Dive. It also said the new hours will vary by location and market, but the Star Tribune reported it will be 5 a.m. to midnight at 11 locations in the Twin Cities. Hours for its Fast & Fresh location will remain 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. Hy-Vee has always had stores that aren't open 24 hours, but it is moving the rest of its stores to that model.
- The grocer’s spokeswoman Christina Gayman told Grocery Dive the retailer changed its hours to allocate more team members to busier shopping times in order to assist shoppers. Some non-public-facing employees will still work the graveyard shift. No employees will be laid off in the process.
- The retailer has posted signage alerting their customers to their new hours, effective Feb. 10.
While Hy-Vee points to shifting employee schedules to times of greater need, it's also likely the retailer didn’t pull in enough sales after midnight to stay open longer.
This strategy could improve customer service during peak hours and lead to more sales, but its competitors in the Twin Cities, including Walmart and Cub, still have locations that operate 24 hours a day. Over the last several years, however, retailers, including grocers, pharmacies and discounters, have reconsidered their around-the-clock hours.
In 2017, Albertsons and Vons in and around Las Vegas announced they would no longer be open 24 hours and changed their hours to 5 a.m. to midnight. And last May, Walmart announced it would eliminate 24-hour operations at 100 of its stores, citing the same reasons as Hy-Vee. Coborn's also ended its 24-hour service a few years ago.
The rise in popularity of convenience stores may also attribute to the changing hours. C-stores have improved their inventory to include products that are often desired by late-night grocery shoppers, from staples like milk, eggs and bread to over-the-counter medication or snacks. According to PYMTS, 93% of Americans live within walking distance of a convenience store, making late-night runs easier than driving to the grocery store.
In addition, operational costs associated with running a 30,000-square-foot store all night can add up and shoplifting tends to increase, according to Prevent Loss. To deter theft, more employees may be staffed, parking lot and exterior building lights remain on and oftentimes a law enforcement officer is hired.