Amid high inflation, most major U.S. supermarket chains are experiencing growth in consumer transaction values, and H-E-B leads the way, while Ahold Delhaize is ahead with overall U.S. sales, according to an analysis by Bloomberg Second Measure.
The Bloomberg study, released yesterday, charted data at Ahold Delhaize, Albertsons Cos., Aldi, H-E-B, The Kroger Co., Publix Super Markets and Trader Joe’s between July 2021 and July 21. New York-based Bloomberg Second Measure is a provider of transaction data analytics that delivers insights into company performance and consumer trends.
“In July 2022, the grocery industry reportedly experienced the biggest year-over-year price hikes since the 1970s, affected by factors such as inflation and ongoing supply chain issues. So how has consumer spending at specific supermarket chains fared against this backdrop? Using consumer transaction data, we analyzed how U.S. consumer spending at major grocery store companies,” wrote Janine Perri, author of the Bloomberg Second Measure analysis report.
H-E-B’s 12% growth in average consumer transaction value is followed by Kroger with 10%, Aldi 8%, Ahold Delhaize 4%, and Albertsons and Publix with 3% each. Trader Joe’s didn’t see an increase but remained steady year over year. H-E-B also led in average spending at $64 while Albertsons scored the lowest at $44.
Bloomberg said factors that might influence average transaction values include the type of subsidiaries owned by each supermarket chain. Kroger and Albertsons, for example, also operate fuel, pharmacy and convenience locations. Geographic distribution also plays into it. H-E-B operates only in Texas, and Publix is primarily in the Southeast. In comparison, Kroger and Albertsons have much broader footprints in various regions across the U.S.
Meanwhile, all the researched companies chalked up at least 10% growth in U.S. sales in July 2022 year over year. Ahold Delhaize grew 18%, followed closely by Aldi and H-E-B at 17%, and then Publix at 15%, Trader Joe’s at 14%, Kroger at 12% and Albertsons at 10%.
Factors influencing spending include inflation and supply chain issues, which are said to have triggered the biggest price hikes in July 2022 since the 1970s. Bloomberg reported that Albertsons CEO (Vivek Sankaran) has credited the widespread adoption of remote work during the pandemic with driving at-home eating habits and grocery shopping.
Retailers aren’t overlooking their inflation-battered customers, according to Perri. “The grocery industry is experimenting with new ways to engage with customers in the current inflationary environment,” she stated in the report. “Grocers like Albertsons and Ahold Delhaize are offering prepared meals to combat inflation and drive customer loyalty, while Kroger recently rolled out its Boost membership program, which offers free delivery for online orders and reward points for fuel purchases, nationwide.”
Some consumers are reportedly pivoting to private-label brands or trading down to save, the analysis said. Discount stores are also reportedly experiencing increased consumer demand, especially for groceries and household items, according to the analysis.
For multi-regional conventional grocers, Bloomberg Second Measure’s analysis included these company subsidiaries:
• Kroger: City Market Fuel, Foods Co, Smith’s, Copps Food Center, Dillons, Foods 4 Less, City Market, Kroger Specialty Pharmacy, Pick ‘n Save, The Little Clinic, Fred Meyer Jewelers, King Soopers, Mariano’s Fresh Market, Metro Market, Ralph’s, Kroger, Fred Meyer, Vitacost.com, Fry’s Food Stores, Harris Teeter, and Home Chef.
• Ahold Delhaize: Giant, Stop & Shop, FreshDirect, Martin’s, Hannaford, Bfresh, and Food Lion.
• Albertsons: Pavilions, Haggen Food & Pharmacy, Albertsons, Safeway Supermarket, Tom Thumb Fuel, Safeway Fuel, Star Market, Acme, Albertsons Market, Shaw’s, Vons Supermarket, Market Street, Vons Fuel, United Supermarkets, United Express, Jewel-Osco, Tom Thumb Supermarket, Randalls Fuel, and Randalls Supermarket.