Wegmans to shut trailblazing mall store in Massachusetts

The regional grocer said the large “nontraditional location” in Natick Mall struggled to draw enough shoppers.
Wegmans Natick Mall store-Natick MA-exterior
Wegmans opened the 134,000-square-foot store in Natick Mall in late April 2019. / Photo courtesy of Wegmans Food Markets

Citing underperformance, Wegmans Foods Markets plans to close its two-level supermarket at Natick Mall in Natick, Massachusetts, later this summer.

An exact closing date is upcoming, and all 365 employees—including 142 full- and 223 part-time staff—are being offered employment at other Wegmans stores in the area, the Rochester, New York-based regional grocer said Thursday.

The Natick Wegmans, located at 1245 Worcester St. was a groundbreaker for the company. When opened in late April 2018, the store marked the retailer’s first multilevel location within a major mall, Wegmans noted.

“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 for the Wegmans New England division, said in a statement. “Unfortunately, with this nontraditional location, we are unable to attract enough customers for our business model to work.”

Wegmans Natick Mall store-Natick MA-escalator

An escalator and cart conveyor system allowed Wegmans Natick shoppers to move between the store's two levels. / Photo courtesy of Wegmans Food Markets

In addition, the 134,000-square-foot Natick supermarket is one of Wegman’s biggest stores. The company said that, in 2009, it had identified the Natick community as an optimal location for a store but couldn’t find a site meeting its needs until the Natick Mall space became available.

Both levels of the Natick store, which occupies space from a former JCPenney, offer direct access to the mall. At the time of the supermarket’s opening, Wegmans noted that the store’s central atrium houses a cart conveyer system and an adjacent escalator to make it easier for customers to move between floors, while the location’s spacious layout accommodates nearly 70,000 items, including 3,000-plus organic products. A parking deck sits across from the store’s main entrance, and an enclosed walkway leads customers directly into the second level.

The Natick store’s second floor features the Buzz Coffee Shop and The Burger Bar, a fast-casual restaurant counter serving hamburgers, fresh salads, sandwiches, specialty milkshakes, soup and side dishes. A Blue Dalia Restaurant & Tequila Bar, a full-service Mexican restaurant and tequila bar on the second level, closed in late 2019.

Level two also offers a breadth of restaurant-quality prepared foods, plus seating for more than 100 people, along with fresh produce, bakery, seafood, meat, cheese, deli and charcuterie, catering and a floral shop. The ground floor carries natural foods, grocery, dairy, frozen and bulk items, along with health and wellness, home and entertaining products and a wide selection of wine, liquor and beer.

Wegmans Natick Mall store-Natick MA-mall entrance

Natick Mall customers can directly access the Wegmans store from within the shopping center. / Photo courtesy of Wegmans Food Markets

Wegmans noted on Thursday that it doesn’t plan to shut other stores. The company operates five other Massachusetts stores, in the greater Boston area, are situated in Burlington, Chestnut Hill, Northborough, Westwood and Medford.

“We love our Natick community and customers, and we’re eager to pursue new store locations in the area for the future,” MacKendrick stated. “In the meantime, we hope to continue to serve our Natick customers through our e-commerce offerings and our other area stores.”

Currently, Wegmans has 110 stores in New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Delaware and the District of Columbia. Most recently, the chain opened an 85,000-square-foot store in Reston, Virginia. The retailer has announced plans to enter Connecticut with a store in Norwalk but thus far hasn’t disclosed an opening timetable.



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