There were only modest shifts in position among the nation’s very largest retailers last year, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF) STORES 2012 Top 100 Retailers report. Wal-Mart—bigger than the next four largest retailers combined—remains in the No. 1 spot. Indicative of a supermarket growth trend seen throughout the report, Safeway moved back into the top 10 following a five-year absence. The annual ranking of U.S. retailers by domestic sales, featured in the July issue of STORES magazine, was compiled by Kantar Retail and sponsored by American Express Merchant Financing and SAP.
“Full of peaks and valleys, the scope of the retail industry leaves every company vulnerable to evolutionary changes, which in recent years include consumers’ shopping behaviors, price index changes, economic factors, and good old-fashion competition,” said Susan Reda, editor for STORES media, the publishing group of the NRF. “When it comes to grocery retailers, fundamental shifts in how their customers shop—primarily because of the ‘need vs. want’ argument—have changed which companies might excel faster than others.”
Maintaining its No. 2 spot and still the largest supermarket company in the United States, Kroger has found success nationwide while still maintaining its locally recognized banners and is looking forward to expanding its footprint even more in the year ahead. Sales at Kroger ($85 billion) grew 9.1 percent from 2010 to 2011.
With sales topping $36 billion on growth of 5.6 percent, Safeway (10) rejoins the top 10 for the first time since 2007. New programs like its mobile-driven “Just For U” platform, which offers its customers a personalized digital shopping experience, are helping boost the company’s growth. Safeway swapped positions with No. 11 Sears Holdings on this year’s list. The only other change within the top 10 was a swapping of positions by No. 5 Costco and No. 6 The Home Depot.
New to the list this year, Harris Teeter Supermarkets secures the No. 80 spot. The Charlotte, N.C.-based company saw sales grow 4.5 percent to $4.2 billion in 2011, while its store footprint in the United States grew 2.5 percent over that same time frame.
Roundy’s Supermarkets (89) also made the list for the first time. Sales at the Milwaukee-based grocery company grew 2.2 percent last year to $3.8 billion. The company went public on the New York Stock Exchange in February.
Grocery chains H-E-B. (26), Whole Foods Markets (37), Aldi (40) and Wegman’s (65) also enjoyed double-digit growth last year.
Rounding out the top 10 are Target (3), Walgreens (4), CVS Caremark (7), Lowe’s (8) and Best Buy (9).
“Food and fuel inflation contributed to the rise of many grocery and club retailers, but there was a real separation amongst those that were able to deliver strong brand and value propositions, including pure value players like Dollar General and Aldi to higher-end companies like Whole Foods Market and Apple,” said Alexandra Mansfield, global data manager for Kantar Retail. “Amazon was the real standout this year, continuing to change the landscape and shoppers’ expectations by capitalizing on the desire to save time and money, the ‘new convenience.’ It will not surprise us if they crack the top 10 in 2012.”