General merchandise is a monster business. With hundreds of niche product categories, thousands of small suppliers and sales data either unavailable or difficult to obtain, the general-merchandise business can be unwieldy, and a big challenge for supermarket buying executives. However, the payoffs in profit can be big.
ion, or a 23% share. In the Top 10 categories listed below, supermarkets sold $2.6 billion, or a 17% share of the total volume. Some categories, such as foil pans, are