Lidl US came in first on the National Retail Federation (NRF)/Kantar 2020 Hot 100 Retailers list of the fastest-growing retail companies, which included 33 grocery retailers.
The Hot 100 Retailers, compiled by Kantar for NRF, ranks the nation’s fastest-growing retail companies, based on increases in domestic sales between 2018 and 2019. All retail companies with domestic sales in excess of $300 million were eligible.
Arlington, Va.-based Lidl US finished No. 1 with sales growth of 69% to $1.09 billion in 2019, NRF/Kantar reported. In that time, Germany-based Lidl grew its U.S. store base 49% to 97 locations in nine East Coast states, and it now operates more than 100 U.S. stores.
NRF cited Lidl’s expanded offering of fresh foods in its small-footprint discount grocery stores as a key sales driver. The company topped the Hot 100 Retailers list for the second consecutive year.
“The ability to sell more produce comes as the German-owned chain builds a network of warehouses up and down the East Coast. Lidl entered the U.S. market three years ago, served by a lone warehouse in Fredericksburg, Va. It now has three warehouses with a fourth in the works, to be located in Georgia with no target date yet for opening,” NRF said in its 2020 Hot 100 Retailers report. “All this infrastructure could support a chain more than 10 times as large as the current Lidl, which opened its 100th U.S. store in late May in Suwanee, Ga.”
Lidl US noted that this year it has opened more than 20 new stores as well as its and third distribution center, in Perryville, Md.
“We are proud to be recognized by the National Retail Federation as the fastest-growing retailer in the United States for the second year in a row,” Lidl US President and CEO Johannes Fieber said in a statement. “This ranking reflects the customer enthusiasm we see for Lidl in our communities every day. Shoppers love Lidl’s low prices, and they are spreading the word about a grocer that gives them more for their money each time they shop. I want to thank the growing movement of loyal Lidl fans driving our growth, and the growing Lidl US team that delivers a value proposition that works better for our customers.”
Other grocery retailers finishing in the top 20 of the Hot 100 Retailers list were Don Quijote (Marukai) at No. 4, Amazon (owner of Whole Foods Markets) at No. 5, Boxed.com at No. 6, Coborn’s at No. 9, Grocery Outlet at No. 15 and FreshDirect at No. 16.
St. Cloud, Minn.-based Coborn’s saw sales grow 15% to $1.48 billion in 2019, while its store network expanded 13% to 78 locations, according to NRF/Kantar.
“Coborn’s, the other supermarket in the top 10, is a 99-year-old family-owned company that has taken its time growing into four Upper Midwest states,” NRF said. “The stores have a number of nameplates, including Coborn’s, Cash Wise Foods, Marketplace Foods and Hornbacher’s. This last was added two years ago when Coborn’s acquired eight locations from the former Supervalu operation that had been taken over by United Natural Foods Inc. Coborn’s also runs a central bakery and a dry cleaning plant to support its stores.”
Rounding out the Hot 100 grocery retailers were Festival Foods (No. 26), Costco (No. 27), 99 Ranch Market (No. 29), Rouses Markets (No. 30), Dollar General (No. 33), Sprouts Farmers Market (No. 34), Aldi (No. 35), H-E-B (No. 39), Wegmans Food Markets (No. 41), Hy-Vee (No. 46), Walgreens (No. 47), WinCo Foods (No. 53), Publix Super Markets (No. 54), CVS Pharmacy (No. 57), Schnuck Markets (No. 65), Harps Food Stores (No. 66), Piggly Wiggly/C&S Wholesale Grocers (No. 69), Grupo Comercial Chedraui (No. 71), Lund Food (No. 73), H Mart (No. 74), Foodland Supermarkets-Hawaii (No. 77), Fareway Stores (No. 78), Cosentino’s Food Stores (No. 84), Demoulas Market Basket (No. 87), Bashas’ (No. 90) and The Kroger Co. (No. 96).
Regional food chains and specialty food retailers typically finish high on the Hot 100 Retailers list, according to Tory Gundelach, senior vice president of retail insights at Kantar.
“Regional grocers are frequently able to be more agile and more in tune with the part of the country they serve. It can often be easier to implement changes in a few hundred stores versus thousands of stores,” Gundelach explained. “COVID-19 has changed this dynamic a bit, particularly for regional grocers that didn’t have a developed online business, but regional chains have been able to stress their connection to the community.”