The 75 largest food retailers and wholesalers in the U.S. and Canada combined to produce $893.08 billion in revenues in 2008, up 7.6% over their total in the preceding year.
The sales volume includes revenues from both food and nonfood merchandise in North America for the companies' current or recently ended fiscal years. The volume increase reflects both the high levels of food inflation — estimated at about 5%-6% in for the year — combined with traffic growth at the chains on the list.
The 10 largest companies on the list accounted for about 68.7% of the total volume on the list, the same proportion they comprised a year ago. Those 10 largest food retailers had combined revenues of $613.2 billion — up 7.5%, or $42.9 billion, over year-ago levels. They accounted for about two-thirds of the increase in volume among the entire Top 75.
The top 20 companies on this year's list had revenues of $732.9 billion, up about 7.6% over year-ago volume levels. Those 20 largest operators accounted for 82.1% of the total volume among the Top 75, almost exactly the same as a year ago.
Among wholesalers, the 19 listed among the Top 75 generated total revenues of $117.75 billion in 2008, an increase of about 4.2% over year-ago levels. One wholesaler, Purity Wholesale Grocers of Boca Raton, Fla., fell off last year's list and was replaced by URM Stores, a cooperative based in Spokane, Wash.
The four Canadian companies on the list — Loblaw Cos., Sobeys, Metro and Overwaitea Food Group — were the same companies on the list a year ago, with total revenues of $60.8 billion, up about 6.1% over year-ago levels.
The top 12 alternative formats — nontraditional supermarkets — also remained the same as a year ago, with Natick, Mass.-based BJ's Wholesale Club moving up one notch on the list. Together, the alternative formats generated $412 billion in revenues in 2008, an increase of about 9.3% over the volume they generated in the preceding year.