The 'TJ Maxx of grocery stores' is coming for Kroger, Walmart, and Whole Foods

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Grocery Outlet wants to be the TJ Maxx of grocery stores.

The Los Angeles-based regional chain has 251 locations and plans to expand to 376 by 2020, according to a recent profile in Frozen & Dairy Buyer magazine cited by RetailWire. It is on-track to gross $2 billion in sales this year.

TJ Maxx offers lower prices than department stores by paring down the shopping experience and passing savings on to consumers. The apparel store has been blamed for the downfall of brands like Nordstrom and Macy's.

Grocery Outlet says it sells items at a 40% to 70% discount off regular stores' prices by offering surplus items, seasonal closeouts, and discontinued items. While some of its items aren't up to manufacturer standards, none of what it sells is past the sell-by date.

Here's why Grocery Outlet is becoming a viable threat to industry giants like Walmart, Kroger, and Whole Foods.

Grocery outlet slashes produces prices
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Grocery outlet slashes produces prices

Like TJ Maxx, grocery outlet says it relies on a "treasure hunt" experience to hook consumers.

Our basket is filled with sizzling #bbq savings! Check out our new ad out TODAY with #WOWdeals like Aidells All Natural Sausage for $3.99, Ribilicious Baby Back Pork Ribs for $3.99, Hormel Black Label Bacon for $2.99, and Ore-Ida Crinkle Fries or Tater Tots for $4.99! *See the full ad here: #summertime #makesmesaywow

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Because customers don't know exactly what products they will find at Grocery Outlet, they keep coming back for the thrill.

Thanks for the shoutout, @chefboy_ari01, and nice #grocery haul! We're loving all these fantastic finds! #repost ・・・ Just some grocery shopping, mostly for snacks that I wanted to share with you all for a little healthy motivation 😊 Some of my favorite organic or healthy brands include #amys #annies #organics and #kashi. #groceryoutlet is my store for all these products at great prices. πŸ’ͺ🏻🍌

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Still, Grocery Outlet executives tell Frozen & Dairy Buyer magazine that they strive to make stores a place where people can do most, if not all, of their food shopping.

@fitnessmomwinecountry stopped by the brand new #Napa, CA Grocery Outlet and snapped this #selfie! If you're in California, be sure to stop by too, or head over to the new #Quakertown store if you're in Pennsylvania! ・・・ Welcome to the Napa Valley @grocery_outlet ! #bargainshopping #nosh #natrual #organic #specialtyfoods #healthy #napavalley #shopping #lifestyleblogger #healthylivingblogger #bgbcommunity #lovemyjob #GroceryOutlet #WOWdeals and #makesemesayWOW

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Grocery Outlet says it cuts costs by offering "opportunistic" products that wouldn't be sold in regular stores, such as surpluses or seasonal products.

There's no right or wrong way to shop at #GroceryOutlet πŸ˜‰ We sure do love our customers! πŸ˜† #Repost @theleafybean ・・・ Day 9 of #YogaScavengerπŸ”ŽHunt is a pose in the snack food isle! Because, ya know, just casually shopping for snacks in tree pose πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ #groceryoutlet #thaicashews #snacksonsnacks oh, and the spectators were pretty funny too πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ glad I had Emily as my photog πŸ‘Œβ€ 🌍🌏🌎Hosts: πŸ”@ZenBeeni πŸ”@Rockabetty25 πŸ”@Simplemuffin πŸ”@Fumi_Soul πŸ”@Suchitra_rx 🌎🌏🌍Sponsors: πŸ”@yogiyummies πŸ”@bitsybottom πŸ”@mamakuka πŸ”@buddhibox πŸ”@ekamlove πŸ”@flow_active πŸ”@yogawithzenodash πŸ”@loveprayjewelry πŸ”@happyworldclothing πŸ”@mymalanecklace πŸ”@sashka_co #caligirl #blondie #veganyogi #selftaughtyogi #yogachallenge #iloveyogachallenges #yogaeverydamnday #yogaoutside #yogabyaroad #yogabyaroad #yogabyatree #yogaanywhere #adventure #yogisabroad

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It also cuts costs by not offering traditional services like a deli, bakery, or butcher.

Whoa, @taminator27... what an impressive haul! #groceryoutlet #bargains #repost #NOSH ・・・ Another #groceryhaul my kids and hubby love granola bars so I stocked up. I got organic bananas, naked juice smoothies, sweet potatoes, Greek 100 cal yogurts, organic coffee and some frozen Chinese food for an easy dinner night. Also this hummus is legit amazing. @grocery_outlet #everythingorganic #organic

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Because Grocery Outlet can't always count on getting discounted products, it orders some staples like frozen pizza, butter, and ice cream and sells them for prices comparable to Walmart's.

Oh yeah... It's #SoDelicious! Mmm mmm! 🍴 #dairyfree #foodie #Repost @nixbylin ・・・ My #groceryoutlet is becoming a #vegan gold mine. I swooped up every box they had of these #sodelicious mac&cheese for quick easy dinners when I'm too tired for elaborate meals. I used #sodelicious coconut milk for cooking and #smartbalance butter to prepare the Mac and cheese. I also added bell peppers, spinach & #beyondbeef for a more substantial meal for the bf. I think adding veggies will balance out the saltiness. I warned him not to expect the og mac&cheese from when you were a kid, go into it from a new perspective; one that knows you're eating better? Well my prep talk was not needed because he loved it. It may not be the healthiest thing to eat but it's nice to have easy make vegan food options.

While Grocery Outlet doesn't offer amenities like a deli, it tries to excel in customer service. It also sells wine.

There's always room for #dessert. πŸ˜‰πŸ¦ #sweettreat #desserttime #Repost @summerfali ・・・ Doesn't taste like chocolate at all but the caramel makes up for that. Thank you @grocery_outlet for making it affordable. #vegan #coconuticecream

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At Grocery Outlet, workers will carry your bags to your car for you.

Mark your calendars, folks, because the #GOWineSale is back March 22-26! And if you're in the #LongBeach area and are like @shescookin, you may want to make friends with Mike, the awesome #wine buyer for the LB #GroceryOutlet! πŸ˜‰πŸ· #Repost @shescookin ・・・ Make friends with Mike the #wine and #beer guy at @grocery_outlet in #LongBeach #goodeats

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While discounters like Whole Foods and Trader Joe's sell private-label products, Grocery Outlet sells brand names at a discount.

Our new ad is out TODAY! Stock up on all the tastiest snacks for this Sunday's #BigGame!! 🏈🏈🏈 #WOWdeals #SB50

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Grocery Outlet is also making a big push into organic, healthy, and specialty food.

This is @joysofsarah's current obsession! What's YOUR #GroceryOutlet obsession right now? #foodielove #instashopping #Repost @joysofsarah ・・・ #FebruaryPhotoChallenge #LeapYearPhotoChallenge Day 6. #Obsession πŸ¬πŸŒ±πŸ“Έ #groceryoutletbargainmarket #naturescandy #boughtallofthem #whatveganseat

It plans to open an additional 125 stores in the California and mid-Atlantic region by 2020.

Get ready, #Azusa because #GroceryOutlet's coming for you! Opening tomorrow at 355 N. Citrus -- stop in for some fantastic #WOWdeals! πŸŽ‰πŸŽˆπŸ‘

The chain does not offer coupons or promotions.

The #Azusa #GroceryOutlet is now open!! Stop in & get #shopping! πŸ˜„ 355 N. Citrus Ave.

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Instead, it lets customers know about exciting deals in a daily email.

New ad out today!! πŸŽ‰πŸŽŠπŸŽ‰ Get these yummy sweets & treats at your local #GroceryOutlet WHILE SUPPLIES LAST! πŸ·πŸ«πŸ¬πŸ°πŸŽ‚ Visit for all the #WOWdeals πŸ˜„

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The discounting model has proven to be a disruptive one in department stores, with TJ Maxx and Ross Stores challenging longtime giants like Macy's and TJ Maxx.

We're getting ready for tomorrow's #CostaMesa #GroceryOutlet opening! πŸŽ‰πŸŽˆπŸŽŠ Are you just as excited as we are?? πŸ˜€ The store officially opens tomorrow at 8am with the ribbon cutting at 10am - we hope to see you here! *1835 Newport Blvd*

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If traditional stores like Kroger and Whole Foods want to compete, they will have to focus more on discounts.

The #GOWineSale is in full swing!! Stop by your local #GroceryOutlet for amazing deals on your favorite #wines! March 22-26 😍 *Not valid at Pennsylvania Grocery Outlet locations. 

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