C&S, Wakefern, UNFI Outpace All Wholesale Grocers In Northeast

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C&S Wholesale Grocers is the leading wholesaler in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast market area, according to data compiled by Best-Met Publishing Co. The Keene, NH-based privately held wholesaler that supplies retailers such as Stop & Shop, Giant/Martin’s, Giant Food (all Ahold Delhaize USA firms), Tops Markets, Fairway Market, Gerrity’s, Musser’s and independent retailers that are part of the Key Food, Associated Food Group and Allegiance groups in Metro New York, had estimated wholesale revenue of $17.1 billion in that marketing area for the period ended November 30, 2018. It also managed to remain (reportedly for two years) primary wholesaler for the Best Markets, which last month sold 27 stores to Lidl. And just before presstime, C&S announced it plans to acquire Olean Wholesale Grocery Cooperative which services approximately 270 grocery and convenience stores in upstate New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Ranking second among all retail distributors in the region was member-owned Wakefern Food Corp. which rang up an estimated $13.3 billion in wholesale volume. The Keasbey, NJ based co-op’s large volume is generated through the success of its more than 250 ShopRite stores and nearly 70 Price Rite discount stores from Massachusetts through Virginia, including dominant positions in the large Metro New York and Delaware Valley markets.

In the boldest move of the year, UNFI’s acquisition of Supervalu created the industry’s first linking of a large natural, organics and specialty food distributor with a traditional full-service wholesaler. The $2.9 billion deal (including debt) was an expensive one for the Providence, RI-based company and significant changes are expected in the first six months of 2019. With the acquisition, UNFI now becomes the third largest wholesaler in the market, with estimated volume of $8.8 billion in the Mid-Atlantic/Northeast region.

Two of the largest national convenience store wholesalers – McLane and Core-Mark – dominated c-store distribution in the region. McLane’s 12 warehouses which served more than 6,000 stores (including many 7-Elevens) amassed estimated regional sales of $5.2 billion; and Core-Mark supplied more than 2,300 c-stores and amassed estimated annual wholesale sales of $1.95 billion.