New York, New York

Date : 03 January 2018

At the start of January my thoughts inevitably turn towards two major retail events that annually kick off a new retail year; the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, and NRF’s Big Show in New York.

While CES has only recently become more relevant for the retail industry, reflecting the growing role of technology in the sector, NRF’s Big Show has been a long-standing event in the retail calendar.

With the event drawing an increasingly international audience, it provides delegates with an opportunity to join a retail safari, or study tour, to take in the best of the city’s retail offer. Here’s our pick of stores to see across three key formats; grocery, food-to-go and non-food.

Grocery store: Whole Foods Market, Bryant Park

Launched in 2017, this is one of the retailers most centrally located stores in the city, adjacent to Bryant Park. The two level-store reflects Whole Foods Market’s latest thinking around store design, and given its location, prepared foods and food-to-go feature prominently.

The store builds in some of the key learnings from its value-focused format, Whole Foods Market 365, particularly in terms of the use of in-store technology to speed up customer transactions, and centralising in-store food preparation.

This is one of the highest pedestrian traffic areas in the US, with the retailer looking to capitalise on this through offering a range of breakfast, lunch and dinner options. Key food destinations include the Harbor Bar, Sushi Kano and Pizza Parlor.

Non-food: Target, Herald Square

Opening in October 2017, this store reflects the latest design from Target for its ‘flexible formats’ concept. The 45,000-sq. ft. store is based in a high footfall location in central Manhattan, close to Macy’s flagship store in the city, a key tourist destination.

The store offers a range of fashion, homewares and grocery items. A key part of the offer is the retailer’s private brands. This year, eight new brands have been launched as part of its plans to launch 12 over an 18-month period.

In addition to Target’s established store pickup service, this location also offers same-day delivery as part of a test underway within New York. Customers using the service can have their store purchases delivered to anywhere in Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn and Queens in a two-hour timeframe, for a small fee. Additional services include Target’s ‘Beauty Concierge’ and a CVS Pharmacy.

Food-to-go: Digg Inn, 17th Street

New York is a must-see destination for anyone focused on food-to-go development. Over recent years there has been significant growth in the number of food halls and food markets, while it continues to excel in key categories such as bakery and coffee. However, one trend which has driven innovation in the sector is the farm-to-table movement.

Dig Inn is one of the most notable operators which has built its model around developing trusted relationships with its farmers and partners and serving seasonally-relevant food. To support this, it has developed a network of local and regional suppliers for its stores in Boston and New York. It has created standards for the producers it works with including using farms that practice rotation, polyculture, and integrated pest management, ensuring that its milk is 100% grass-fed and its eggs are cage-free.

Its stores are a vibrant environment, with all menu items cooked from scratch, with customers able to customise their dishes.

New York city guide

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Stewart Samuel

Stewart Samuel

Program Director, IGD Canada




This guide highlights the top 10 grocery stores to visit in Manhattan, we’ve also selected innovative farm-to-table food-to-go operators and some of the latest non-food flagship concepts to visit to help drive your innovation strategy.