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Diners Are Flocking To Mini-Marts, Grocery Stores For Prepared Meals

December 29, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Sales of dinner meals are dropping steadily at fast-food and casual-dining restaurants. So where are the fast-foodies and casual diners going for dinner? Turns out, a lot of them are eating in grocery stores, where dinner visits have risen seven percent since 2010 to 1.8 billion visits a year. Sales of prepared foods and baked goods at Whole Foods Market more than doubled to $2.7 billion, putting it in the same league with Chipotle Mexican Grill ($3.2 billion in sales last year). Another growing favorite for meals in general: convenience stores, like the mini-marts at Sheetz gas stations. The number of meals served at convenience stores in the 12 months ended August 2014 grew 3.1 percent from 2013, compared with a 0.4 drop at restaurants.
Julie Jargon et al., "Supermarkets, Convenience Stores Now Woo Diners, Too", The Wall Street Journal, December 29, 2014, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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