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Supermarkets Seek Shoppers with Boutique Fitness

Jason Scott

Malls aren’t the only commercial real estate properties looking to boost foot traffic with fitness offerings.

As CNN Business reports, many supermarkets are offering boutique fitness concepts in hopes of attracting shoppers looking for a streamlined, convenient experience.

“Grocers are understanding that to bring people back in store they must create these activities,” Jamie Sabat, director of trends and consumer forecasting at Streetsense, a consulting firm, told CNN. “They want to create this hangout factor in the store.”

So far, brands such as Hy-Vee, ShopRite and Whole Foods have experimented with providing fitness activities to shoppers. Hy-Vee has partnered with Orangetheory Fitness to build studios attached to two of its stores, ShopRite offers yoga and Zumba classes at one location to shoppers with a loyalty card, and Whole Foods brings barre, cycling and yoga to its flagship store in Austin, Texas.

The weaving of grocery stores and fitness reflects adjacent trends: the rise of boutique fitness and the increased awareness and sensitivity to health concerns among grocers.

IHRSA reports that boutique fitness memberships have soared by 70 percent in the past four years, and many grocers have brought dieticians and health clinics into their stores.

The trend seems likely to continue and evolve. Retail industry analyst Diana Sheehan predicted to CNN that brands such as Meijer and H-E-B, which already sponsors free yoga in some stores, are likely to jump into fitness soon. Meanwhile, Hy-Vee is experimenting with a “HealthMarket” concept — which features a slimmed down version of a Hy-Vee store, but includes a pharmacy, a health clinic and a sports nutrition area — at a store in West Des Moines, Iowa.

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