ShopRite Unstoppable; Ups Share Against S&S, A&P In $95.3B Market

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It was another dominant year for ShopRite as it continued to build new stores, replace older ones and expand its PriceRite banner, including its first two member-owned discount units. Now with 253 stores (including Fresh Grocer), ShopRite rang up estimated sales of  $13.73 billion or 14.41 percent of the entire $95.3 billion Food Trade News’ marketing area. ShopRite’s increased market share is now nearly twice that of second-ranked retailer Stop & Shop.

The Food Trade News market study covers a 70-county area ranging 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). The measuring period of the study was April 1, 2014 through March 31, 2015. This is the 37th annual edition of the study.

For many retailers, the past 12 months showed slight but steady improvement over the sales patterns of the past five years. Retailers as a whole were helped by slight inflation and an overall improved economy (especially lower gas prices), but found market conditions as competitive as ever. Additionally, the trend of alternate channel operators gaining market share at the expense of traditional supermarket leaders continued.

Besides ShopRite, there were other large retailers that enjoyed successful years. Those included Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Costco, BJ’s, Wegmans, Wawa, Aldi, CVS, Key Food and Acme Markets, which had a year of resurgence under the new Albertsons/Cerberus management.

Those operators that found the going still rough included Fairway Market, Kmart and perennial tail dragger A&P, which according to much industry speculation, may be for sale or nearing another bankruptcy filing.

Second-ranked Stop & Shop had a flat sales year. Volume dipped slightly from last year ($7.09 billion this year vs. $7.15 in 2014) from its 194 stores in the region, which represented a 7.44 percent share of the entire market.

Still ranking third in the overall marketplace was the (once) Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, which opened no new stores again (its operated 270 stores, two fewer than last year) and produced identical store sales that were the worst in the region for retailers with more than 25 stores. Estimated volume for all of the company’s banners – A&P, Pathmark, Waldbaums, Food Basics, Super Fresh and Food Emporium) were $5.78 billion.

Giant/Carlisle remained Ahold USA’s most consistent performer. And, while competitive conditions and lack of new stores growth (the retailer actually operated one fewer store this year -145 units) contributed to a relatively flat year, overall annual sales improved from $5.27 billion to $5.32 billion.

CVS’ strong year enabled it to jump from seventh to fifth place among all retailers in the market. The Woonsocket, RI-based drug chain, which just announced it is acquiring Target’s 1,660 pharmacies for $1.9 billion, now operates 1,024 stores in the region, 67 more than last year. Annual revenue is estimated at$5.01 billion.

Wal-Mart, among the elite in per average sales, had another year of minimal activity. The Bentonville Behemoth opened a new SuperCenter in East Brunswick, NJ and “Division 1” discount stores in Old Bridge, NJ and Camp Hill, PA. It also closed a “Division 1” unit in Massapequa, NY. Estimated extrapolated sales for Wal-Mart’s 169 stores in region were $.82 billion.

Walgreens (Duane Reade), the highest per volume drug-chain in the market, has a solid year with its smallest new store growth over the past decade. Buoyed by its strong Duane Reade brand in New York City, the Deerfield, IL-based merchant continued to lead all retailers in sales in Manhattan. Estimated volume for the past 12 months increased to $4.74 billion. Late last year, the company acquired Zurich-based Alliance Boots, the multi-national pharmacy and beauty care company.

Ranking eighth and rounding out the drug chain triumvirate was Rite Aid, which continued its recent run of positive ID sales. However, as part of its continued efficiency plan, the Camp Hill, PA-based drug operator operated eight fewer stores this year. Estimated annual sales for the year were $3.6 billion at its 940 stores in the region.