- Raley’s has transitioned a closed store in Sacramento, California, into an e-commerce fulfillment center, a company spokeswoman told the Sacramento Business Journal.
- The company had planned to announce a new tenant for the closed store in April when it opened its new store one block north. However, those plans changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Raley’s will restart negotiations with potential tenants once normal business operations resume.
- Giant Eagle, meanwhile, announced that it will reopen its Garfield Heights, Ohio, store to the public for grocery shopping, according to a press release sent to Grocery Dive. In April, the grocer had temporarily transformed the store into a curbside pickup center.
Turning a location into a “dark” store can help a grocer fulfill more online orders. Pickup and delivery demand has skyrocketed since the start of coronavirus, and dedicated fulfillment centers allow grocers to immediately increase their order-handling capacity.
Other retailers that have adopted the dark store strategy include Whole Foods, which opened its sixth “dark” store in May, as well as Kroger, Stop & Shop and independent grocery chains. Like Raley's, most grocery chains have only converted stores that were set to close, not open yet or located in areas where the company has another store nearby.
Aside from the changes it is making now in response to the coronavirus, Raley’s has also increased its e-commerce offerings in recent years. Raley’s launched same-day delivery under its e-cart program in 2017, and in 2019 it partnered with Instacart to expand its delivery reach.
For Giant Eagle, the shift to a pickup-only store came earlier in the pandemic, and now the retailer says it is ready to re-open the store it turned into an e-commerce hub. However, Giant Eagle’s second dark store will remain closed to the public.
“We are now in a position to meet the increased demand for grocery pickup and home delivery services with same-day and next-day slot available to guests at most locations, and with that, felt it was time to welcome guests back into our Garfield Heights supermarket,” Giant Eagle spokesperson Jannah Jablonowski said in a statement.