Trader Joe’s to open eight new SoCal stores. Here’s where they will be

Trader Joe’s is ramping up its pace of expansion, with plans to open two dozen new grocery stores around the country, including eight in Southern California.

The SoCal stores will be in South Pasadena, Northridge, Sherman Oaks, Santa Clarita, Murrieta, Mission Viejo, Poway and Santee. Opening dates have yet to be announced.

Nakia Rohde, a spokesperson for Monrovia-based Trader Joe’s, said the rate of openings “is faster than it’s been in the last few years.”

“Not a lot of businesses are growing their brick-and-mortar, so it’s nice,” she said Thursday.

The push by Trader Joe’s to increase its footprint comes as grocery prices have climbed about 25% over the last four years.

Competition within the industry — especially in Southern California, which is the nation’s largest and most competitive market — has been fierce as stores compete for budget-minded consumers, many of whom say they’ve been buying only the essentials.

With its tightly curated selection of trendy snacks, frozen meals, alcohol and produce at affordable prices, Trader Joe’s has been a popular destination for the budget conscious. In recent years, influencers have pushed many of the chain’s eclectic store-branded products to sold-out viral status, such as its tiny tote bags, kimbap, and ube mochi pancake and waffle mix.

A Times survey of staple items at the 10 most-visited grocery chains in the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim area in 2022, a year when grocery prices rose 10.9% in the region, found that Trader Joe’s was the least expensive.

But even it has had to raise prices: In March, it increased the individual cost of its beloved 19-cent bananas for the first time in more than two decades, to 23 cents each, with Rohde saying: “We’ve now reached a point where this change is necessary.”

Food price inflation is expected to slow in 2024 but remain slightly higher than a year ago, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Privately held Trader Joe’s operates 549 locations in 42 states and Washington, D.C.

This month, it opened new stores in San Francisco and Boston. The first Trader Joe’s opened in 1967 on South Arroyo Parkway in Pasadena.

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