The food, drug, mass and value retail segment can be summed up in one word: groceries. Every retailer whose market share gain was great enough to earn chart status has a significant inventory investment in groceries. The dominance of food retailing is interesting — perhaps even surprising — in light of the fact that American consumers are spending less than 9 percent of their money on food, compared with about 13 percent in 1982, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics researched by Lam Thuy Vo of National Public Radio.
Grocery sellers include Johnny-come-latelies to food retailing like Walgreen and Dollar General, Dollar Tree and Family Dollar. Eight of the 14 retailers on the list operate traditional supermarkets: They may have a natural, organic orientation such as Whole Foods Market, an upscale fine food orientation a la Wegman’s Food Markets or offer only a limited assortment in a no-frills, limited-hours environment like Aldi, but they are easily recognizable as supermarkets.
Both Costco and BJ’s Wholesale operate warehouse clubs, but that’s where the similarity ends. Only one-third of Costco’s sales are in perishables and dry groceries, while two-thirds of BJ’s sales are in the grocery end of the business. Kroger is ranked No. 1 for the second straight year, but only Dollar General, Walgreen and Aldi have made the chart every year since its inception in 2010.
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