Thursday, June 17, 2021

[UPDATE] Publix, Sprouts and Lidl Have More Than Two Dozen Stores in Metro Atlanta Pipeline

Despite the headwinds facing many retailers, grocers seem to be among the most active in metro Atlanta with an immediate pipeline of nearly 30 new stores.  The main players involved in the upcoming openings are Publix and Lidl, which together account for at least 24 new stores.  

Lakeland, Florida-based Publix already has 192 stores in Georgia according to its website, but plans to add an additional fifteen to the greater metro Atlanta area over the next 12-24 months.   Lidl, based in Germany but with U.S. headquarters in  Arlington, Virginia, currently has fifteen stores open in Georgia but plans to open an additional nine over the coming year or so with several more in the pipeline. 

A recent report by BuildCentral indicated that Publix and Lidl were one and two when it came to ranking most active grocers nationwide.  The report tracked 44 new Publix stores and 33 new Lidl stores.  Aldi, Target and Amazon Grocery rounded out the top five with a combined 76 stores under construction, according to the report.  

Historically, grocery stores run on very low margins with metro Atlanta seen as among one of the most competitive markets for grocery stores.  Several grocers, in fact, have entered the market only to find competition too stiff and subsequently closing or selling all stores in the area.  A&P, Cub Foods, BI-LO, Winn-Dixie, Harris Teeter and Earth Fare are among the brands that have exited the market entirely. 

Even Walmart has struggled to get a foothold in the market with their "Neighborhood Market" banner, having closed several of the smaller format, grocery oriented stores.  Target, too, has struggled with grocery with several of the company's large format, grocery-heavy "Super" Target stores having closed in metro Atlanta over the years including those in Roswell, Duluth, Stone Mountain and Morrow. 

Below we take a look at who's opening, the size of the planned store and the target opening, if available.  


Publix's pipeline of stores planned for Georgia will bring the grocer to more than 200 in the state.  The privately held grocer has performed incredibly well during the pandemic and has been especially active in new store development in new and existing markets like South Florida where it already dominates.  Several of the planned Atlanta area stores are of the grocer's latest prototype, a 48,387 square foot store, while others, like that planned for a new center in Dunwoody, are far smaller, measuring about 25,000 square feet.  

In addition to growing its presence, the grocer is also using its financial might to increase its real estate holdings.  In 2005, Publix owned the real estate under about 11 percent of its locations but by 2020, Publix was its own landlord at nearly 35 percent of its stores.  During this same time Publix sales soared, too, from $21 billion to $45 billion with the grocer's profit nearly doubling from 4.8 percent to 8.9 percent in 2020.  

East Cobb (East Cobb Crossing) 37,395 square feet - September 2021

More about this planned store can be found in our earlier coverage here 

Dunwoody (Perimeter Marketplace) 25,147 square foot - October 2021

More about this planned store can be found in our earlier coverage here 

Tucker (Hugh Howell Marketplace) 48,387 square feet - November 2021

The new Tucker store is meant to serve as a replacement for the current 56,146 square foot Publix at The Centre at Hugh Howell.  

A Publix representative said of the planned relocation: "We are part of a redevelopment of a commercial area that gives us the ability to operate one of our newest prototypes. #544 is being replaced as it’s an older store running short on term, located mid-block, the new store is located at a true intersection making it more convenient for customers."

Avondale (Sam's Crossing) 53,785 square feet - November 2021

Chamblee (Chamblee Plaza) 41,004 square feet - Early 2022

More about this planned store can be found in our earlier coverage here 

Cumming (Canton Highway & Post Road) 51,908 square feet -  TBD

Athens (1000 West Broad Street) Publix would be part of Varsity redevelopment - size and start date TBD

Athens (102 Lavender Road "The Village at Oak Grove") Publix is expected to anchor this new development with a 48,387 square foot store - Early 2023 

McDonough (Kelleytown Village) 48,387 square feet - Early 2022 

Newnan (Arbor Springs Plaza) 48,387 square feet - Mid 2022

Summerhill 48,387 square feet - Late 2022 

West Midtown (Interlock Phase 2) 42,000 square feet - Summer 2023

Winder - (Winder Village) 48,387 square feet - TBD

Watkinsville -  Publix would anchor proposed Sembler shopping center (Oconee Connector & Mars Hill Road) 48,387 square feet - TBD

Dacula (Harbins Road and Ga. 316) Publix would anchor a planned 74 acre mixed use by an affiliate of Atlanta's Watkins Real Estate - TBD 

Publix opened this past October at Matt Town Center in Cumming (48,387) and November in Sandtown Crossing (48,387) along Campbellton Road in southwest Atlanta. In February, a new Publix also opened at the Shoppes at Ola Crossroads in McDonough that was also 48,387 square feet.  

Sprouts Farmers Market 

Georgia, currently with sixteen Sprouts stores, is the chain's sixth largest market by store count.  The company announced plans March 5 to open twenty additional stores in 2021 including two in the greater metro Atlanta area.  The new Georgia stores will make their debut showcasing the brand's new logo, introduced this past fall, as well as minor interior upgrades.  

Buford (The Exchange at Gwinnett) 23,000 square feet - Late 2021 

Smyrna (Heritage Pavilion) 18,600 square feet -  Late 2021 

More about this planned store can be found in our earlier coverage here 

"The new Sprouts in Smyrna will be in Sprouts’ new, smaller format which highlights the unique Sprouts experience keeping fresh produce at the center of the store while emphasizing product innovation and departments meaningful to our target customers like high-quality meat and seafood, frozen items and plant-based foods. The Buford store will be similar in size and layout of existing Sprouts stores in the state. Although smaller, the Smyrna location will offer a similar amount of products as other Sprouts stores as square footage is primarily reduced in non-customer facing areas resulting in a more efficient store layout that does not include salad and soup bars, nor dining areas."


The discount grocer entered the Georgia market in late 2017 and today operates 15 stores in the state.  ToNeTo Atlanta reported January 6, 2020 that the company plans to open a 925,000 square foot distribution facility in Covington in Newton County.  The new distribution facility, which is expected to generate about 270 full time jobs, will aid the grocer in their regional expansion efforts both in Georgia and the south.  Over the next six to twelve months the company plans to open at least six additional stores in metro Atlanta with several others at various stages of development. 

Stonecrest (6038 Covington Highway)  Opened June 9th 

Duluth (Marketplace Village on Peachtree Industrial Boulevard) 29,136 square feet - June 23 

Roswell (The Crossings at Roswell) ~29,000 square feet - June 30 

Woodstock (Bells Ferry Road) 29,136 square feet - Late 2021 / Early 2022 

Buford/Lawrenceville (1945 Braselton Highway) ~31,042 square feet - 2022

Cumming (The Shoppes at Kelly Mill on Kelly Mill Road) 29,089 - Late 2021 / Early 2022 

More about this planned store can be found in our earlier coverage here 

Kirkwood area (Parkview Station on Memorial Drive) ~29,000 square feet - Late 2021 / Early 2022 

More about this planned store can be found in our earlier coverage here 

Norcross (4990 Jimmy Carter Boulevard) Current 25,800 square foot Horizon Events Center building  would be expanded to about 29,000 square feet. - 2022 

Evans/Augusta (4285 Washington Road) ~31,000 square feet - 2022

Sugar Hill (Northwest corner of Nelson Brogdon Boulevard & Sycamore Road) 28,179 square feet - TBD

Several other stores are in the works in Midtown, Cobb County and elsewhere in the greater metro Atlanta area and in the state.  


Buford (Marketplace at Millcreek) - 23,642 square feet - TBD 

More about this planned store can be found in our earlier coverage here

Marietta (249 South Cobb Parkway) - 20,442 square feet - TBD

More about this planned store can be found in our earlier coverage here


West Midtown (West Midtown Center at 17th Street & Northside Drive) - 82,000 square feet 

More about this planned store can be found in our earlier coverage here.

East Cobb (MarketPlace Terrell Mill) - 95,000 square feet.  The new large format store was to serve as a replacement of the nearby and very dated Delk Road "Greenhouse" store.  

When reached for comment on the status of the two stores, a Kroger representative said: "We have no updates at this time."

Whole Foods Market 

A new Whole Foods Market was reportedly being considered on Woodstock Road in Roswell but the deal is reportedly "dead" at the moment.   

Amazon Go Grocery

The Whole Foods sibling concept from parent company Amazon has reportedly looked at several sites in metro Atlanta but has no deals done...yet. 

Trader Joe's 

There are no known Trader Joe's deals "done" in metro Atlanta but multiple sources familiar with the grocer's plans tell ToNeTo Atlanta that they are again "active" and looking to open 2-3 more stores in metro Atlanta in the years to come.  Specific target markets for the popular grocer include West Midtown and Decatur.  

Grocery Outlet

Emeryville, California-based extreme discounter Grocery Outlet is also in expansion mode and has said it's targeting new growth opportunities on the east coast.  Grocery Outlet, where stores are owned by "owner/operators" [similar to Chick-fil-A], currently has more than 370 stores, primarily on the west coast, but plans to grow its currently small presence in Pennsylvania as well as enter New Jersey, in the near term.  Georgia was not mentioned in recent store chatter but could very well be part of the chain's expansion strategy.   

Grocery anchored shopping centers have historically been favored by investors due to their perceived protection from market disruptions and store closures.  Real estate professionals tell ToNeTo Atlanta that they have seen soaring interest in shopping centers this year, specifically those anchored by grocery stores.  

Several grocery anchored centers in metro Atlanta have sold in recent months including:

Alpharetta Commons (Alpharetta) - 94,500 square foot Publix anchored center sold in March for $24.6 million 

Lenox Marketplace (Buckhead) - 421,000 square foot Publix & Target anchored center sold in April ( price undisclosed)

Cofer Crossing (Tucker) - 136,139 square foot Kroger & Walmart anchored center sold in May for $20 million

Roswell Market Place (Roswell) - 95,522 square foot Sprouts Farmers Market anchored center sold in June for $37.6 million. (Seller Branch Properties acquired the center for $31.7 million in March 2019.) 

Atlanta-based Branch Properties, already owner of more than a two dozen largely grocery anchored centers in the southeast, is also developing several more including three of the aforementioned Publix-anchored projects.  

“Our business model has long been based on developing and revitalizing shopping centers anchored by grocery stores,” said Jesse Shannon, chief investment officer of Branch Properties, developer of both Perimeter Marketplace and Hugh Howell Marketplace." 

“Grocery-anchored retail has lagged behind the multi-family and industrial asset classes in terms of rent growth and exit capitalization rates for the last 10 years but has a proven history of providing strong risk-adjusted returns in times of economic disruption. The pandemic has provided an exaggerated case study on grocery performance during economic shocks. After all, food is essential to life."


sugarfoot said...

Great report. Thank You.
I am most looking forward to the Lidl in Sugar Hill.

Anonymous said...

I think Decatur could easily support a Trader Joes. They like operating in wealthy areas like Midtown, Buckhead, Sandy Springs but don't have any stores on the east side. I'm sure if they researched the demographics, a store in Decatur would do quite well

Anon said...

And Wegmans??????

Anonymous said...

Really getting tired of the same old players in the market. Bring on Wegmans.

Anonymous said...

Bring back Harris Teeter please! I wish Food City would hurry up and enter the Atlanta market.

AtlantaTJ said...

Yes, whatever happened to the Wegman's near Perimeter?

Anonymous said...

Is anyone here old enough to remember Big Apple and/or
Colonial Stores? Maybe Eli can enlighten us as to what
happened to them.

Anonymous said...

I could be in the minority but I'm not really impressed with Lidl or Sprouts. There isn't anything wrong with either but I can't stop at them all and pretty much do my shopping at Publix, Kroger, with an occasional Aldi and Target run.

I may have been one of the few people who liked the Walmart Neighborhood Market because I could get some staples very inexpensively without feeling like I was being swallowed by "Walmart World". I was sad to see them leave my area.

Anon said...

Kroger bought H-T so I'm not sure it's the store you remember.

J Leeds said...

Colonial was owned by Grand Union, as was Big Star (and Richway Foods). They all were eventually branded as Big Star, and then the stores were mostly sold to A&P. Many of the locations eventually became Publixes.

Anonymous said...

Does the Publix expansion include their Greenwise stores? I went to a couple in Florida and really enjoyed it.

Also, I wish a Trader Joe's would come to Toco Hills/North Decatur. The $$$$ is here. Such an underrated area.

Alex said...

The Lidl on Bells Ferry in Woodstock is already open. Was just there about 3 weeks ago.

DaBigMotor said...

"Also, I wish a Trader Joe's would come to Toco Hills/North Decatur. The $$$$ is here. Such an underrated area."

Toco Hills has a Kroger AND a Publix. There's no way another grocer is getting in there.

Anonymous said...

A Trader Joe's would do well in Suwanee and Alpharetta. Currently, we have to go to the one in Peachtree Corners which is a 20-mile drive. If it were closer I would go there a lot more.

Magic Jackson said...

It’s obvious that opening a supermarket isn’t easy, or very lucrative if it’s not done correctly. 25+ years ago, everyone was begging for Publix to open stores in Atlanta, because all we had were the Winn Dixies, A&Ps, etc. Now most of the comments here are, let’s get something new. This site posted that Wegmans was moving to GA back in 2019, into a existing building at that! Where is the store? The company immediately stated that this was not tue, and that this site published “fake news”.

Wegmans has a little over 100 stores, and their business model nor logistics is suitable to support stores in Atlanta. Publix has over 1200, Kroger has over 1500+, and let’s not forget about Sprouts, Aldi, and Lidl which also compete in Atlanta. If Walmart is backing off from the grocery store rollout, then it’s obvious it’s not as easy as it looks. Just appreciate the stores that you have in your vicinity, and stop wishing for others to open up, just so you can have something a little different.

ICU said...

I find myself increasingly not going to these stores and instead going to alternative food shopping destinations and wonder if anyone is watching these regional or market targeted stores. Ingles, H Mart, City Farmers, and Wayfield Foods each have a loyal following. International single destination stores like Buford Highway and Dekalb Farmers Markets and a myriad of others also play an important role in the Atlanta market. What’s going on with those places? Are these stores too focused on the non-suburban population to get noticed?

Alan Cason said...

Lidl is listed as the anchor tenant for a new development in Athens on Atlanta Hwy. at Timothy Rd. It's directly across the street from Aldi.

Anonymous said...

I love Walmart Super Centers (one stop shopping and exercise, too), Kroger, Whole Foods, and Sprouts and frequent each. We also have a Lidl and an Aldi's that are close enough---love each. I'm quite familiar with Publix; grew up with the chain in South Florida. Yet, I rarely go into a Publix store, because I've often found the same item sold at Kroger and/or Walmart to be as much as a dollar less, than it is at Publix. No matter how I like Publix and no matter how much money I may have, I would rather have my dollars in my own pocket, than in the fat pockets of Publix. While Whole Foods and Sprouts are similar, they are different. I love them both and find Whole Foods to be a bit more pricey on similar items. I'm in West Cobb. We have many grocers, from which to choose. We only need Trader Joe's to round out our supermarket choices. So, I keep hoping...

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