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Wakefern Tops Co-Op List

KEASBEY, N.J. — Wakefern Food Corp. here said retail sales for the recently ended fiscal year were up 6.4%, to $13.6 billion. Separately, it topped the annual NCB list of grocery cooperatives once again.

Warehouse sales at the cooperative wholesaler/retailer, parent of the ShopRite chain, were $10.1 billion for the year, which ended Sept. 29. The co-op opened 10 new ShopRite stores and one new PriceRite discount store during the year.

“We continue to be successful, in spite of tough competition and an even tougher economy,” said Joseph S. Colalillo, chairman and chief executive officer, Wakefern. “Our success hinges on our family-owned businesses and their ability to focus on our customers — meeting, and exceeding, the unique demands of the different marketplaces in which we operate.”

The news came as NCB — formerly the National Cooperative Bank — released its list of the Top 100 Co-Ops in the country, where Wakefern ranked No. 4 on the list based on its 2011 volume, up from No. 5 in 2010. It was the largest food-retailing cooperative on the list.

The largest co-op in the country remained St. Paul, Minn.-based CHS Inc., followed by Dairy Farmers of America and Land O’Lakes at No. 2 and No. 3, respectively.

Photo Gallery: 'World's Largest' ShopRite

Among grocery co-ops, Wakefern was followed by Associated Wholesale Grocers of Kansas City, Kan., which retained the No. 6 spot on the overall list with $7.77 billion in 2011 revenues. Unified Grocers of Commerce, Calif., ranked No. 9 with $3.85 billion; Associate Wholesalers Inc., Robesonia, Pa., with $2.29 billion (No. 16); Associated Food Stores, Salt Lake City, with $1.95 billion (No. 21); Central Grocers, Franklin Park, Ill., with $1.91 billion (No. 23); Affiliated Foods Midwest, Norfolk, Neb., with $1.37 billion (No. 37); Affiliated Foods of Amarillo, Texas, with $1.33 billion (No. 41); URM Stores, Spokane, Wash., with $914 million (No. 59); Piggly Wiggly Alabama, with $773 million (No. 75); Associated Grocers of Baton Rouge, La., with $685 million (No. 88); and Associated Grocers of Florida, Pompano Beach, with $596 million (No. 97).

Grocery and food distribution co-ops overall had revenues of $35.47 billion in 2011, the second-largest group behind agriculture co-ops, which had $125.6 billion in revenues.

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