Big companies. Essential products. Millions of devoted customers. It would make sense that the supermarket industry might be immune from the flood of bankruptcies the retail sector has been facing. But that hasn't been the case, especially when you compete with giants such as Walmart, Target, and Amazon-owned Whole Foods. The truth is that the grocery business can be absolutely brutal. And in recent years, the nation's grocers have been dealing with a series of issues that go from supply chain disruptions, labor shortages, disorderly mergers and acquisitions, and huge, huge piles of debt. While some big box retailers recorded massive increases in sales during the pandemic, the same wasn't the case for various specialty grocers that were already on the ropes. In some cases, even with sales booming, liabilities were so significant that grocery store chains had no other option but to file for bankruptcy, shutter all their locations, and lay off all of their staff.
Over the years, many supermarkets have come and gone, and many of them were actually household names at one point in time. But the cracks in our economy are starting to show up everywhere. And the highly competitive environment, its razor-thin profit margins, the crumbling retail landscape and changing shopping habits are making some stores that were once a key part of communities fade away from our memory. This is a tough economic enviroment for all businesses, and the more we lose smaller specialty store chains the more dependent we become from large corporations. This also means that shoppers get more vulnerable to abrupt price increases and are left with fewer options to choose from.
But on top of all of these closings, we might have to say goodbye to thousands of supermarkets in the next few years. So far this year, 1.3 percent of U.S. supermarkets have been permanently shut down, according to data compiled by Inmar Intelligence. But the firm predicts that the number of U.S. supermarkets may decline by an additional 6 percent over the next four years as consumers increasingly turn to e-commerce for their grocery shopping and companies struggle with the soaring cost of real estate, energy, labor, and supplies. In other words, grocery inflation is here to stay, and these are only the very first chapters of a crisis that will persist for several years. That's why in today's video, we compiled some of the once-thriving and beloved grocery stores that are silently going broke, closing up shop, and hanging by a thread as the economy takes a turn for the worst.