ShopRite remained king and two of Ahold USA’s retail banners – Stop & Shop and Giant/Carlisle – gained significant ground according to Food Trade News’ annual market study issue. This year we have expanded the study to include the full Metro New York market featuring 11 Central New Jersey counties, 12 New York counties (boroughs) and three Western Connecticut counties. ‑ those 26 jurisdictions alone account for $57.19 billion of the entire $89.48 billion market. The measuring period for the study was April 1, 2012 to March 31, 2013.
Some familiar trends continued in the region, which affected even those retailers that gained sales and market share. Pressure from alternate channel retailers increased again, with Wal-Mart expanding four area units to SuperCenters and adding a new store in Williamstown, NJ, Costco and BJ’s also opening new clubs that produce the highest per store averages of any retail channel and the growing penetration of drug chains (particularly Walgreens/Duane Reade and CVS), which not only operate many stores in densely concentrated areas, they have also expanded the number of grocery SKUs over the past year. Other significant gainers in a still rugged environment included Whole Foods, Wegmans, Wawa and Trader Joe’s.
For those retailers that have struggled over the past several years, there was no relief in sight as the economy continued to be listless, competition remained fierce, shopper loyalty diminished and consumers in all economic strata maintained a mindset of thrift and caution.
The two largest operators that continued to struggle with overall same store sales performance and a declining customer perception were A&P (Pathmark, Waldbaum’s, Food Emporium, and Food Basics) and Acme Markets.
In the 70 county marketing area that ranged from Litchfield County and New Haven counties in Connecticut to Franklin County, PA and as far south as New Castle County, DE (see coverage map on page 8), once again no retailer fared as well as ShopRite on an overall basis. Other merchants may have opened more stores, made accretive acquisitions or achieved higher identical store sales gains, but on the whole, nobody continued to protect market share, open new stores and have significant same store increases like the member/owners of Wakefern/ShopRite once again did. By any measure, ShopRite once again had a stellar year, increasing its store base in all parts of the region and seemingly remaining unintimidated by the diversity of competitors that surround their stores. In our expanded region, the 218 ShopRites and 11 Price Rites produced estimated sales of $12.1 billion and continued to open stores under both banners. What bodes well for the Keasbey, NJ firm is that its strong, tenacious independent operating style is a positive difference maker and it continues to have about a dozen new stores in its pipeline.
Ranking second in the region is Stop & Shop whose 196 Metro New York stores amassed sales of $7.17 billion. The big Ahold USA owned banner opened three new replacement stores and remodeled a number of other units. It also moved ahead of A&P and became the second leading retailer in the Metro New York market.
A&P continued to act like a company that hasn’t viscerally improved much since exiting bankruptcy in March 2012.