A cover story in the March/April issue of Produce Blueprints Magazine pointed out that although Trader Joe’s was “proactive and nimble ” in protecting its employees and customers during the pandemic, the company did not experience the same surge in sales as other grocery stores.
Phil Lempert, a retail consultant for Supermarketguru.com, cited the number of SKUs and store size as factors. Trader Joe’s carries about 4,000 products per store, compared to about 42,000 at a traditional supermarket.
“It’s not a full shop,” Lempert said. “You can’t go there and get everything you want the same way you can at Kroger or Albertsons; you have to go to another store, which is holding Trader Joe’s back.”
In addition, Trader Joe’s stores are significantly smaller than most grocery stores, resulting in limits on the number of people allowed inside and customers waiting outside.
“The good news for Trader Joe’s is we haven’t seen anyone who wasn’t comfortable standing in line, ” said Bill Bishop, a retail consultant from Brick Meets Click. “I guess it must be worth the wait.”