Too many discount stores? City officials weigh moratorium

Chris Miller
September 17, 2018 - 6:54 am

Andrew Kulp, USA TODAY Network

Are there too many discount general stores in New Orleans? City officials are studying whether or not there should be a moratorium on new so-called "small box" retail stores. 

Dollar stores of 5,000 - 10,000 square feet have flourished in New Orleans in the last few years, but some residents say what they really need is full-service grocery stores, with fresh meat and produce. If that's what they want, retail business analyst Wade Ragas says limiting other types of stores isn't how you do it.

"I'm not used to hearing about full-service grocers who view the dollar stores or Dollar General as something that will deter them from entering a market," Ragas said. "Instead of trying to penalize...smaller stores, if you want the larger stores, then give them tax breaks."

Ragas says grocery stores have very slim profit margins and will only want to open in neighborhoods where they believe they'll get enough shoppers to stay in the black.

Another complaint about the dollar stores has more to do with neighborhood aesthetics -- with residents saying a lot of dollar stores around their neighborhoods gives the impression that they're a "discount" community.

The planning commission is taking comments through November 5, and will release a report and recommendations a day later.

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