I’ll spare you the suspense: there has been no substantial change in the relative market positions of The Big Three regional grocery chains between 2004 and 2013. Stop & Shop, Shaw’s, and Market Basket remain at the top of the “food chain” (pun intended) with respect to regional market share within this industry sector. I’ll let the charts below speak for themselves, but there are a few items worth noting:
Hannaford scored the highest in percentage gain of incremental space in the 2004-2013 timeframe at 301%, but it couldn’t have done it without the 2004 acquisition of nineteen Victory Supermarkets (some of which were outside the Eastern Massachusetts region).
Other than Victory, Save-A-Lot was the only chain to slip out of the top eight. These two have been replaced by Trader Joe’s and value grocer Price Rite.
The biggest loser, which should come as no surprise, is Shaw’s. This troubled grocer was the only chain among the market leaders to show a decline in retail space. Retail space among all other chains, and independents that fall into the “Other” category, declined a substantial 861,100 square feet, or 31%, dropping from 2.8 million to 1.9 million square feet. In 2004, “Other” represented 18% of the space and now represents only 11%. The fallout includes such chains as Johnnie’s Foodmaster, AJ Seabra, Hi Lo, and RoJack’s, as well as a slew of smaller chains. Highly-touted recent entrants into the region (and therefore outside the purview of the historical data) include Wegmans, Aldi, and Fresh Market.
Of course we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the other grocery competitors taking a piece of the food expenditure pie: wholesale clubs, dollar stores, Walmart Supercenters, and Targets are all grabbing significant shares of the grocery market. It would be compelling to analyze the growth of these non-traditionals against the 10% overall growth experienced by the traditional grocery sector during the 2004-2013 period to better grasp their impact on the industry - but that’s a subject for another day.
Bob Sheehan, Vice President of Research