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When Wegmans debuted its massive supermarket in Natick, Mass., in 2018, it was one of the company’s most unique locations yet. It was the very first multi-level Wegmans to open inside a major shopping mall–the Natick Mall–and it is still one of the East Coast chain’s largest stores to this day at a whopping 134,000 square feet. In addition to a vast grocery selection, the supermarket houses a shopping cart conveyor system to help customers navigate between floors, a burger joint, and a coffee bar. There was even a full-service Mexican restaurant on the second floor when the store opened, though it later closed in 2019.
Unfortunately, all of that unique appeal wasn’t enough to keep the Natick store in business. Wegmans announced this week that it plans to shutter the location later this summer, though the company hasn’t determined an exact closing date yet.
“Making these decisions is never easy. However, we do it for the long-term benefit of our people, our customers, and our communities,” Brien MacKendrick, human resources director of the Wegmans New England division, said in a statement. “Unfortunately, with this non-traditional location we are unable to attract enough customers for our business model to work.”
The store has 365 employees, 142 of whom are full-time and 223 of whom are part-time. Wegmans is offering positions at other locations in the area to all of the Natick Mall workers.
Though Natick may be losing its mall supermarket, Wegmans hasn’t ruled out the idea of opening other stores in the area further down the road. The company said that it pinpointed Natick as an ideal community for a store all the way back in 2009 but couldn’t find a suitable site until the mall spot became available.
“We love our Natick community and customers, and we’re eager to pursue new store locations in the area for the future,” MacKendrick said. “In the meantime, we hope to continue to serve our Natick customers through our e-commerce offerings and our other area stores.”
Wegmans currently operates 110 stores along the East Coast and has six more future sites in the works, including its second New York city location that’s expected to open in the second half of 2023.
With the Natick closure, the company will join a growing list of grocery chains that are shuttering locations in 2023. Sprouts Farmers Market plans to close 11 underperforming stores in the first half of the year. Walmart has also gone on a closing spree this year, shuttering more than 20 stores across Illinois, Oregon, Wisconsin, Texas, Georgia, and other states, according to the latest tally from Business Insider.