Cornering the market: restriction of retail supermarket locations

Document Type



Office of the Provost


A major source of healthy foods, North American supermarkets have become larger in recent years, with new stores opening and older stores closing. Upon closure, there is evidence of some supermarket sites being placed under restrictive covenants, a practice that restricts future use of the site. The purpose is usually to limit food sales at the location, thus minimizing competition for a chain's nearby stores. In Edmonton, Alberta eighteen covenants have been documented on former supermarket sites. At six of these sites, termed food desolated, there is no operating supermarket within walking distance (800 m) of the former stores. The covenants disproportionately affect senior citizens as neighbourhoods with covenants have a significantly higher percentage of seniors than those neighbourhoods without covenants. Results of a group interview with community leaders from a neighbourhood that lost a supermarket and historical case study also point to the restrictive covenants resulting in difficulties for seniors accessing healthy food


This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space