Lidl earned praise for its distribution network and its fresh produce offerings.
idl, Amazon, Boxed, Coborn's, Grocery Outlet and Costco were among 32 retailers of food and consumables to make Hot 100 Retailers 2020 list compiled by the National Retail Federation and Kantar.
Other notable retailers making the list include Dollar General, Aldi and Wegmans.
The list is based on 2019 sales volume. Rankings are determined by increases in domestic sales between 2018 and 2019; all retail companies with domestic sales in excess of $300 million were eligible.
The retailers that made the Hot 100 Retailers 2020 list include food sellers and some bricks-and-mortar operators that feature what the NRF and Kantar called treasure hunt-style shopping experiences. Other commerce trends growing during this time include the further penetration of digital commerce by bricks-and-mortar-based retailers and the establishment of physical stores as showrooms by e-commerce businesses — efforts spark even more by the pandemic.
Those two organizations also said that merchants on the list are likely best prepared to survive and thrive in the wake of COVID-19 restrictions and well into the future.
“Where we are now, in terms how we shop and purchase items, is where we would have been 10 years from now. In other words, over the course of four months we’ve pressed the fast-forward button on shopping methods. The retailers (and brands) who have been over-investing in building digital, ecommerce and omni capabilities are emerging as the clear winners during COVID-19,” says Reid Greenberg, executive vice president of global digital and ecommerce at Kantar.
Among food retailers, the big trend last year was selling more produce. Nationally, produce sales rose to $62 billion last year, up from $60.8 billion the year before, according to Nielsen. Regional food retailers also made a splash on the list
“Regional grocers are frequently able to be more agile and more in tune with the part of the country they serve. It can often be easier to implement changes in a few hundred stores versus thousands of stores,” says Tory Gundelach, senior vice president of retail insights at Kantar.
Lidl, which took the No. 1 stop on the Hot 100 list, provides an example of that, according to the NRF and Kantar. The grocery provider earned high marks for the increased fresh food availability in its small-footprint discount grocery stores. The ability to sell more produce comes as the German-owned chain builds a network of warehouses up and down the East Coast. Lidl entered the U.S. market three years ago, served by a lone warehouse in Fredericksburg, Virginia. It now has three warehouses with a fourth in the works, to be located in Georgia with no target date yet for opening.
Besides Lidl at No. 1, other retailers of food and consumables on the list included: