The 11 largest grocery chains by revenue in America each sell billions of dollars of food and groceries to U.S. citizens every year. A grocery store is a retail store that is in the business of primarily selling food. In the U.S., Canada, and United Kingdom, supermarkets and convenience stores are sometimes described as grocers. Grocery stores have a number of different formats which range from family-owned operations, boutique chains, to larger supermarket chain stores. Some groceries also specialize in foods of a certain nature such as Italian, Polish, oriental or Middle-Eastern. The grocery industry changed in the 20th century with the launch of supermarkets which had a self-service approach to shopping using shopping carts. These supermarkets were able to offer a wide variety of food at lower costs through lower employee costs.
The retail industry has a global size of more than $4.5 trillion annually making it one of the biggest and most important industries.
The modern day retailing industry has led to huge changes in the grocery business model. The global reach and power of largest grocery chains such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc (NYSE:WMT) and Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) has led to a consolidation in the industry forcing the closure of many small grocery stores. With a large efficient supply chain and economies of scale in procurement, the hypermarkets of Wal-Mart have wiped out a large section of the grocery industry. Now Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) plans to enter the business of food retailing through even more modern techniques such as drones and sensors. These innovations will lead to even more changes in the industry in the coming times. You might also like to check out the 5 largest online retailers in the world.
E-commerce accounts for the majority of the sales growth for many retailers today with the brick and mortar stores generating out low single digit growth in same store sales. There is a big need for grocers to innovate digitally in order to meet the changing needs of consumers who are connected to the Internet almost 100% of the time. Consumers are using digital devices to help them buy stuff in stores and grocers which are able to meet consumer expectations in the digital arena will be the ones who will be most successful in the future. We list below the 11 largest grocery chains by revenue in America in terms of their latest global sales. The list is inspired by Deloitte’s annual “Global Powers of Retailing 2016” report which ranks the biggest global retailers.
11. Southeastern Grocers LLC – $10.8 billion
Headquartered in Florida, Southeastern Grocers is the second-largest conventional supermarket in the southeast based on store count. The company owns 756 grocery stores, 145 liquor stores and 504 in-store pharmacies throughout the seven southeastern states Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Southeastern Grocers deals in bakery, dairy, frozen food, general grocer, pharmacy, liquor etc. The company reported sales of $10.8 billion for fiscal year ended December 2015 and ranks 11th on our list of 11 largest grocery chains by revenue in America.
10. Whole Foods Market Inc. – $15.7 billion
We are continuing our list of largest grocery chains by revenue in America wit the Whole Foods Market, Inc. (NASDAQ:WFM) that owns and runs organic foods supermarkets and currently has a market value in excess of $20 billion. The company operates 456 stores in the U.S., Canada, and United Kingdom. It typical stores offers over 30,000 organic stock keeping units (SKUs), covering various areas such as packaged goods, bulk, frozen, dairy, meat, bakery etc. The company showed sales of $15.7 billion in for the year ending September 2016.
9. Meijer Inc. – $16 billion
Meijer is a large grocery chain that operates through 200 stores mainly in the the Midwest. Half of the company’s stores are in Michigan, while the rest spread across four other nearby states. The company was started by Hendrik Meijer in 1934 and it is still run by his family. The company reported sales of over $16 billion in 2015.
8. H.E. Butt Grocery Company – $23 billion
H.E. Butt Grocery (H-E-B) is Texas’ largest private company and the #1 food retailer in South and Central Texas. H-E-B owns more than 350 supermarkets including a large number of (70,000 sq. ft.) gourmet Central Market stores in major metropolitan areas and 80-plus smaller (24,000-30,000 sq. ft.) H-E-B-Pantry stores. The company was founded in 1905 and is owned by the Butt family. The company had sales of $23 billion in 2015.
7. Sears Holdings Corporation – $25 billion
Sears Holdings Corp (NASDAQ:SHLD), next on the list of largest grocery chains by revenue in America, is the parent company of Kmart Holding Corporation and Sears, Roebuck and Co. The company operates 940 Kmart stores across over 50 states, Guam, Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands. It reported sales of $25 billion for the year ending January 2016 which was a sharp 20% drop from the previous year. The company has been particularly hit hard by competition from Amazon and has already closed a number of stores. Its stock price has more than halved over the last year as the company reported large losses.
6. Publix Super Markets Inc – $32 billion
Publix Super Markets Inc. operates retail food supermarkets in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee and North Carolina. Besides food items like dairy, produce, deli, bakery, meat and seafood, the company also sells health and beauty care, general merchandise, pharmacy, and floral products. The company operates over 1,100 supermarkets in U.S. In fiscal 2015, the company registered revenues of $32 billion with net profits of $1.9 billion.
5. Safeway Inc. – $37.6 billion
Safeway Inc., the number 5 on our list of largest grocery chains by revenue in America sells food through physical stores and also owns and operates GroceryWorks.com Operating Company, LLC, an online grocery channel. In January 2015, the company merged with AB Acquisition LLC. The merger created a diversified network that includes 2,230 stores, 27 distribution facilities and 19 manufacturing plants with over 250,000 employees across 34 states and the District of Columbia. The company reported revenue of $37.6 billion for fiscal 2014.
4. Target – $73.7 billion
Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) stores sell an assortment of food items such as perishables, dry grocery, dairy and frozen items. The Company’s brands include Archer Farms, Market Pantry, Threshold, Simply Balanced, Merona, up & up, Boots & Barkley, Room Essentials, Wine Cube, Circo, Smith & Hawken, Xhilaration, Embark, Ava & Viv, Spritz and Sonia Kashuk. This specialist food retailer showed sales of $73.7 billion for the 52 weeks ended January 2016, which was up by 1.5% over the year. The stock has declined by 8% over the last year due to its slow growth.
3. The Kroger Co. – $109 billion
The third place on our list of largest grocery chains by revenue in America goes to the Kroger Co (NYSE:KR) that manufactures and processes food for sale in its supermarkets. It operates approximately 2,778 retail food stores under a range of local banner names. Besides food stores, The Kroger Co. also runs drug stores, jewelry stores as well as convenience stores across the U.S. The company reported overall sales of $109 billion for the fiscal year ended January 2016 with profits of around $2 billion.
2. Costco – $118 billion
Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ:COST) is the second-largest grocery chain in our list. Its stock has done well over the last five years providing a return of over 100% to its investors. The company reported sales of over $118 billion for the fiscal year ended August 2016 with a net income of over $2.5 billion. Costco sells a wide variety of foods such as packaged foods, snack foods, candy, alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages. It also sells fresh foods including meat, produce, deli and bakery through 715 warehouses across the world.
1. Wal-Mart – $482 billion
Ranking on the top spot on our list of 11 largest grocery chains by revenue in America is Wal-Mart Stores Inc (NYSE:WMT), the world’s largest retailer in terms of revenues and one of the biggest grocers in the USA as well. The company reported revenues of $482 billion for the fiscal year ended January 2016, up by 2% year on year. The company’s sales trajectory has slowed in recent times and the stock under performed over the last one year giving a return of around 6%. Wal-Mart Stores Inc (NYSE:WMT) faces challenges from Amazon.com not only in its traditional apparel and other categories, but also in the grocery segment which the world’s largest online retailer has been targeting lately.