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Analyst Sees Growth Formats as Key

NORTHBROOK, Ill. — While other channels of trade continue to eat into supermarkets’ share of the grocery industry, growth-format supermarkets such as Aldi, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods are slowing the rate of decline, according to DSR Marketing Systems here.

“Growth formats can no longer be described as ‘alternative formats’ … they are central to the future viability of the U.S. supermarket industry,” David S. Rogers, president of DSR, said.

Using recent U.S. government statistics, Rogers said the rate of decline for supermarkets totaled 1.3% between 2007 and 2011 — about 0.325% per year — as opposed to a 5.8% decline between 2002 and 2008, or a 1.16% annual decline. In addition to growth formats, he said high-performing traditional chains such as H.E. Butt, Publix, Kroger, Wegmans and WinCo are also bolstering the supermarket channel.

According to DSR, supermarkets controlled 58.9% of the $645 billion U.S. grocery market in 2011. Warehouse clubs and supercenters controlled 23.2%, while discount department stores (1.7%), drugstores (1.5%) and general merchandise stores (1.5%) and other store types (13.2%).

While supercenters continued to grow their share, fewer openings and improved skill of supermarkets have slowed the channel’s rate of growth in recent years, Rogers said.

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