HERE’S a case study for would-be MBAs to consider: the success of H Mart, an international supermarket chain based in New Jersey (the “H” in H Mart stands for Han Ah Reum, which means “one arm full of groceries” in Korean). The first H Mart opened in Queens, New York in 1982, as a corner shop. Now there are stores in 11 states, Canada and Britain. A new one recently opened in Cambridge, Massachusetts, an affluent city outside Boston.
The future looks bright for H Mart and other Asian supermarket chains in America. Earnings of Asian-American households outpace the national average. Their spending exceeds all other groups, too, according to Geoscape, a consultancy. And Asian-Americans spend more of their money on groceries than average America households.
Americans have developed greater appetite for cooking and eating Asian foods, too. In 2012 non-restaurant sales of Asian foods topped $1.5 billion, according to Mintel Group, a market-research firm. Though Latin foods are a bigger market, the popularity of Asian foods is growing faster. Once strange-seeming imports like seaweed and sashimi are now fashionable foodstuffs. Though the rate of growth is expected to fall, sales of Asian foods are likely to keep rising.
I ONLY shop at Asian Food Marts! Where else can you find the best kimchi, seaweed and a fresh variety of noodles?