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2015 Top 75: The Big Picture

2015 Top 75: The Big Picture

Changes in the annual ranking reflect the multichannel nature of food retailing

SN’s list of the Top 75 retailers in the U.S. and Canada looks a little different this year.

That’s because of two significant changes:

• First, the list includes a wider variety of  formats to mirror the way consumers shop.

Having added discount stores and dollar stores to the list several years ago, SN is including, for the first time, the three largest drugstore chains and the largest seller of online food to reflect how much more significant those alternative types of retailers have become in food shopping. 

The four companies — none of which has ever been ranked previously — are CVS Health, debuting at No. 11, Walgreens at No. 23, Rite Aid at No. 44 and at No. 62.

Also joining the list is H Mart, a Korean market chain based in Lyndhurst, N.J., that operates stores across the U.S.

•  Second, for all formats that are not primarily supermarket operators, the list breaks out “consumables only” to rank the retailers, rather than comparing total sales of a company like Kroger with total sales of a company like Costco or Target, whose category assortments are much broader.

So, for example, rather than list total sales for operators like Wal-Mart Stores, the Top 75 ranks all alternative-format companies based on their sales of groceries, fresh foods and other traditional supermarket categories.

The top three companies on the list remain the same as last year: Wal-Mart Stores, Bentonville, Ark., at No. 1 (on a consumables-only basis); Kroger Co., Cincinnati, at No. 2; and Costco Wholesale Corp., Issaquah, Wash., at No. 3.

Because consumables at Minneapolis-based Target Corp. represent only 21% of total sales, Target moved from No. 4 on last year’s list down to No. 15 — a very strong position for a traditional discount retailer that did not sell food in a big way as recently as five years ago.

Replacing Target at No. 4 is Loblaw Cos., Toronto — No. 6 on last year’s list — while Safeway, Pleasanton, Calif., remains No. 5.  However, Safeway’s sale of its Canadian and Chicago divisions during 2014 resulted in a sales drop that allowed Loblaw to pass it, with Safeway set to merge with Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons.

Moving up a spot are Publix Super Markets, Lakeland, Fla., to No. 6 (from No. 7 last year) and Ahold USA, Quincy, Mass., to No. 7 (from No. 8 a year ago).

C&S Wholesale Corp., Keene, N.H., jumped to No. 8 this year from No. 11 last year, prior to including volume from Associated Wholesalers Inc., Robesonia, Pa., No. 48 on last year’s list, which it acquired in October, and Grocers Supply Co., Houston, No. 45 a year ago, which it acquired in November.

Albertsons moved up one spot to No. 9 — and once its merger with Safeway is completed and even after stores have been divested, the company is likely to be a solid No. 4 on the list — with H-E-B, San Antonio, moving to No. 10 from No. 12 a year ago.


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Delhaize America, Salisbury, N.C. — a division of Amsterdam-based Delhaize Group — is No. 13 on this year’s list but will move down a couple of spots once it completes the sale of 66 Bottom Dollar Food Stores to Aldi, Batavia, Ill., early in 2015 — a deal that could move Aldi up a couple of notches from No. 25 on the list.

The change in methodology also knocked Los Angeles-based 99 Cents Only Stores off the list, from No.  57 a year ago to just below No. 75, with consumables-only volume estimated at $1.2 billion.

Also knocked off the list by the additions of the drug chains, and H Mart were Fareway Stores, Boone, Iowa, which was No. 73 a year ago; Inserra Supermarkets, Mahwah, N.J., which was No. 74; and Marsh Supermarkets, Indianapolis, which was No. 75.

Also, note that IGA, a Chicago-based voluntary network of independent grocers, accounts for worldwide sales of approximately $36.5 billion from 5,380 stores. The 1,150 stores in the U.S. account for $8.2 billion (22% of the total) and 4,230 stores in 31 other countries and territories, including Canada, account for $28.3 billion (78% of the total).

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