100 YEARS OF FOOD RETAILING
The first decade of the new millennium turned out to be quite a ride for retailers of food and consumables, as it included a shakeup of the country’s leading wholesalers, further consolidation among retailers, experimentation with new formats, and a fledgling online grocery business.
The 2000s also saw some big changes at Progressive Grocer: The brand shifted its emphasis from a print-only product to a multimedia platform that now included an enhanced website, face-to-face events and webcasts. Then in 2002, the magazine merged with a former competitor in the trade press arena, Supermarket Business magazine.
Conventional supermarkets continued to feel squeezed during the decade. Between 2000 and 2011, traditional grocers’ market share shrunk to 51% from 66%, according to a study conducted by UBS and Kantar Retail at the time. It seemed that traditional grocers were stuck in the middle of a consumer environment where shoppers were either going to value-priced retailers at one extreme or specialty stores at the other.
- Key Grocery Industry Developments
Grocers did deals and leveraged data.
- In 2000, Ahold surprised the industry by proposing to buy U.S. Foodservice for $3.6 billion. Later that year, the global retailer eliminated its Edwards banner, folding the brand into its Stop & Shop division. In 2005, Ahold sold Bi-Lo/Bruno’s to Lone Star Funds, which ended up selling off stores, spinning off the Bruno’s and Food World stores into a separate company, and eventually selling Bi-Lo.
- A major grocery strike and lockout in California involving Albertsons, Safeway and Kroger throughout 2003 and 2004 made national headlines.
- In 2004, Albertsons acquired Shaw’s Supermarkets and Star Markets, establishing a New England presence.
- Winn-Dixie was hit with a class action in 2004 alleging that the company’s top executives mismanaged the company and failed to set up a strategic plan. By the following year, the company filed for bankruptcy protection and implemented a major strategic restructuring.
- In 2007, A&P revealed plans to buy Pathmark for $1.3 billion.
- British supermarket giant Tesco decided to test its retailing prowess across the pond by launching its Fresh & Easy format on the West Coast in 2007.