“The rent is too high — nobody is making ‘money money,’ ” said Mr. Catsimatidis, a billionaire who started in the grocery business 48 years ago. According to Mr. Catsimatidis, Gristedes stores fare better than their peers partly because they are part of his Red Apple Group, a conglomerate that operates, among other things, an oil refinery. In the 1970s, he said, rent consumed 2 percent of sales; now it’s 10 percent to 12 percent.

Competition is fierce, and not just from Whole Foods. Even those street vendors parked on the sidewalk a few steps away from the grocery store cut into profits, selling items like bananas and strawberries for a fraction of what they cost inside.

And “don’t forget, look what entered the market,” Mr. Catsimatidis said. “Every corner has a Duane Reade.”

-Ronda Kaysen ‘Where did my supermarket go?‘ The New York Times


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