Scale matters in retail, but in food retail, local scale really matters. Market density allows retailers to achieve supply-chain efficiency and leverage promotional expenses and other types of corporate overhead. Most importantly, market density enables food retailers to forge close bonds and foster loyalty with shoppers in the communities where their stores are concentrated.
It’s why major retailers such as The Kroger Co., Albertsons Cos. and Ahold Delhaize USA, after spending decades building their multibillion-dollar businesses through dozens of acquisitions, retained the identities of their takeover targets.
These factors, and others such as speed, family ownership and a spirit of innovation, add up to the type of competitive advantage and awareness level that make a retailer worthy of being called a “super regional.” This phrase could be used to describe operators such as H-E-B, Meijer, Hy-Vee and Publix Super Markets, which are all worthy candidates. However, a layer below these obvious powerhouse, best-in-class retailers is another tier of equally notable operators.
Progressive Grocer wanted to highlight a select group of these companies, not as a definitive ranking, but rather as a representative sample of geographically dispersed chains that are forces to be reckoned with in their respective markets and worthy of the super regional designation.