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05/07/2021

Top 5 Grocery Retailers of 2021

Jamie Grill-Goodman
Senior Editor
Jamie Grill-Goodman profile picture

GROCERY STORES IN RIS’ TOP 100 RETAILERS RANKING

6      Kroger 
12    Albertsons         
14    Loblaw    
19    Empire Company
25    Metro    
44    SpartanNash
51    Sprouts Farmers Market
61    Ingles Markets
68    Weis Markets
75    Grocery Outlet
90    Village Super Market

In a year of upheaval, retailers have had many ups and downs, but it is safe to say the grocery segment has been completely transformed. Grocery’s heaviest hitters have not only survived a global pandemic, but have turned it into an opportunity to catch up the technology prowess of grocery retail to the rest of retail, and in some cases, surpass it.

For the fourth consecutive year, RIS in partnership with wRatings has ranked the industry’s most lucrative organizations. The retailers that make our Top 100 are ranked on their piece of the total retail market. Our research partner, Gary A. Williams, CEO, wRatings examined more than 300 publicly traded global retailers and calculated their share of the retail market.

Here, RIS provides a deep dive into the five grocery store chains that scored highest in the full Top 100 report. On the right, is a full list of all the grocery store retailers that cracked the top 100, below is an in-depth look at the performance of the top five and the technology they rely upon to retain their market-leading positions. The full Top 100 Retailers, 2021 edition can be found here.

a car parked in a parking lot in front of a building

Kroger

Kroger both tops the list of most successful grocery store retailers and landed on our top 10 list overall. It controls a commanding 22% of the grocery market, although this number is down from 38% when RIS first launched this list in 2018. Its $132 billion in sales is more than double its closest rival for supermarket supremacy, Albertsons. While its near $27 billion in gross profit is good for seventh place overall, the grocer continues to reinvest its earnings on segment-leading analytics capabilities and supply chain infrastructure. The grocery officially launched America’s first Customer Fulfillment Center (CFC) last month combining vertical integration, machine learning, and robotics with its Kroger Delivery service. The CFC, powered by Ocado Group, has been in the works since the two first forged a partnership in 2018 and is the first to open of many, poised to transform and support the grocer’s digital business. Kroger’s early investments in contactless fulfillment has enabled it reach 98% of its customers with in-store shopping, pickup, delivery and ship-to-home modalities. Total market share: 3.35%

a store front at day

Albertsons

Albertsons Companies, which fell just outside of our top 10 list overall at number 12, operates 2,277 retail stores with 1,727 pharmacies and 400 associated fuel centers. The company controls 11% of the grocery market, operating stores across 34 states and the District of Columbia with more than 20 well-known banners including Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco, Shaw's, Acme, Tom Thumb, and Kings Food Markets. This commanding presence brings in $69 billion in sales and $19 billion in gross profit. Moving ahead, the supermarket retailer and Google recently entered a multi-year partnership to bring innovative technology, like integrating with Google Maps and predictive grocery list building, to the grocer’s omnichannel customer experience. It has also trialed innovative tech experiences such as an automated and contactless grocery PickUp kiosk and remote-controlled delivery cart. Just last month, the retailer added the new role of senior VP, chief data officer. Total market share: 1.75%

a store inside of a building

Loblaw

Loblaw has been successful for more than a century in the Canadian grocery market and captures nearly 9% of the grocery market. With more than 2,400 corporate, franchised and associate-owned locations, the retailer is one of Canada's largest private sector employers. The company dropped from 12 to 14 on our overall list, but still had $52 billion in sales and $17 in billion in gross profit. Total market share: 1.33%

a building with a store on the corner of a street

Empire Company

Canada’s Empire Company serves millions of Canadians through its Sobeys chain. Empire and its subsidiaries, franchisees and affiliates employ approximately 127,000 people. It has $28 billion in sales and $6 in billion in gross profit and drops one spot this year on the overall list. In March the company agreed to purchase 51% of Longo’s, a long-standing, family-built network of specialty grocery stores in the GTA of Ontario, and the Grocery Gateway e-commerce business. The transaction immediately adds two high-quality banners to Empire’s growing grocery store and e-commerce businesses in Ontario. Longo’s and Grocery Gateway are powerful strategic additions to Empire’s family of brands in the province – Sobeys, Foodland, FreshCo, Farm Boy and Voilà. Total market share: 0.72%

a sign above a store

Metro

Canadian retailer Metro is a food and pharmacy leader in Québec and Ontario and controls 3% of the grocery market. As a retailer, franchisor, distributor, and manufacturer, the company operates or services a network of some 950 food stores under several banners including Metro, Metro Plus, Super C and Food Basics, as well as some 650 drugstores primarily under the Jean Coutu, Brunet, Metro Pharmacy and Food Basics Pharmacy banners, providing employment to almost 90,000 people. The retailer has achieved had $18 billion in sales and over $3 billion in gross profit and is planning to roll out more self-checkout machines, electronic shelf-labels and new automated distribution centers in the coming months. Total market share: 0.46%

Methodology

The financial metrics of more than 300 publicly traded retailers were examined. The economic data is from a 12-month period ending on March 31, 2021. The percent of retail market share was calculated against a total retail market of around $3.9 trillion. The research ranked retailers across the specialty, apparel, department store, grocery and e-commerce segments.