U.S. supermarket expansion increased by 29.4% in 2018, according to JLL's Grocery Tracker 2019 report, which was released March 27.

JLL, based in Chicago, says in its report that retailers also opened about 17 million square feet of new space in 2018.

“Grocery is one of the strongest retail sectors, with nearly twice as many new stores opening than closing last year,” says James Cook, JLL's director of retail research. “The grocery sector has seen shopper habits shift to more frequent, shorter trips, versus large weekly hauls. As a result, grocers are focusing on developing smaller-format stores, those under 10,000 square feet, with more local offerings to appeal to the surrounding community.”

Florida added the most supermarket space in 2018, accounting for 9.7% of the total, thanks in large part to an aggressive approach from Lakeland, Florida-based Publix. California and Texas each accounted for 7.8% of the yearly total. Aldi, Smart & Final Stores and Sprouts Farmers market spurred California growth, while H-E-B and Kroger pushed Texas growth.

Aldi opened 82 stores last year, according to the report, accounting for 15% of new stores by square footage, while Lidl opened just 15 new locations. Sprouts was also aggressive, opening 30 stores with 30 more planned for 2019.