Turf War: PG's 2017 Top 50 Retailers


"The road to success is always under construction." – Arnold Palmer

Aces and duffers alike face challenges, leverage opportunities to boost their positions on the cutthroat course.

The quote above as true in golf as it is in business, and certainly grocery retailing is no exception. Increasingly with each passing year, supermarket operators are forced to review, refine and, in many cases, reinvent the way they operate. Smart retailers keep one eye keenly fixed on the next drive and the other over their shoulder, trained on their competition.

And competition is everywhere these days — next door, across the street, online, pulling up in a delivery van or maybe even dropped from above by a drone.

To be sure, Amazon is the wild card in this high-stakes match. The etailer is delving deeper into grocery, including the fresh side, and even experimenting with brick-and-mortar locations where customers can both pick up online orders and shop for live product, and pay electronically without checkstands. Amazon has been named as a potential buyer of Whole Foods Market by some, B.J.’s Wholesale Club by others.

As is PG’s custom every year, we’ve ranked the industry’s top 50 food retailers, based on the total sales generated in their most recent fiscal years.

Breaking down the key players, our editorial team decided a golf theme would be appropriate to frame its analysis. To that end, we’ve pursued a course as follows:

On the Leaderboard: The market leaders, its dominant players, maintaining a firm grasp on their leadership positions in the industry.

Adjusting Their Swing: These retailers are taking steps to refine their games to better serve their customers and improve their competitive edge.

In the Hunt: These retailers are actively working to boost their position in the marketplace, through mergers and acquisitions, by expanding into new territories, or by launching new initiatives to demonstrate their relevance amid their competitive field.

In the Rough: These retailers are historically strong companies, but are struggling to maintain their positions as they weather current market conditions.

On Par: These are the stalwarts, retailers that are maintaining their positions by satisfying their core shoppers and staying the course.


The Super 50 Methodology Information for Progressive Grocer’s annual Super 50 is compiled from direct guidance from retailers and/or data sourced from public records, including 10K, annual reports and corporate websites. For privately held companies, results are based on information from Nielsen TDLinx, which collects and maintains store information across all channels selling consumer packaged goods.

The four categories within the Super 50 report include annual sales from the most recently concluded fiscal year, store count, top banners and employee counts, either total or full-time equivalents. Full-time equivalent employees are the sum of regular workers, plus one-half the number of part-time employees.

Nielsen TDLinx uses Food Marketing Institute’s definition of a supermarket: a grocery store with a minimum of $2 million in annual sales; its data omit sales from convenience, drug and other retail channels that may be part of total revenue for some companies. Wholesale membership clubs such as Sam’s Club, Costco and BJ’s Wholesale Club are also not included. Supercenters are included, but only for their grocery-equivalent merchandise. Not included are soft goods; clothing; general merchandise such as hardware, appliances, computers and auto service; and other items not common to supermarkets.

Sales estimates from Nielsen TDLinx are presented in terms of all-commodity volume (ACV), which is defined as an annualized range of the estimated retail sales volume of all items sold at a retail site that pass through the retailer’s cash registers. Nielsen TDLinx’s ACV is an estimate based on best available data — a directional measure to be used as an indicator of store and account size, not an actual retail sales report. All data are collected by Nielsen TDLinx from a wide range of independent sources, and then enhanced with computer modeling. Information shown is from the March 2017 database.

Take a deeper dive into PG’s Super 50 with the Marketing Guidebook Advantage, which is updated daily and provides a versatile online database with in-depth company profiles, market share analytics and contact information. Retailers included in the Marketing Guidebook Advantage include the nation’s top 100 food retailers, as well as more than 2,000 other retail chains and distributors. For more information, visit www.RetailBuyers.net, call 813-713-4301 or contact [email protected].


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