Reflecting a recovery in sales following the 2008-09 recession, the top 75 supermarket systems in North America recorded a 7.7% increase in sales last year, after sales slipped 0.2% in 2009.
Revenues totaled $960.3 billion in 2010, compared with $891.4 billion in 2009, according to data reported by Supermarket News, which includes food and non-food items normally sold in grocery stores.
There was very little change in the top 25 systems. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. increased sales by $49 billion to $311.0 billion and remained the largest system in North America, and held 32.4% of the market share, up from 29.4% the year before. Walmart now accounts for one third of all grocery sales in the U.S.
Sales at numbers two and three Kroger Co. and Costco Wholesale Corp. were flat, and sales at numbers four and five Safeway Inc. and SuperValu Inc. were slightly lower. Safeway and SuperValu reversed standings in the top five.
The first three companies control almost one half of all grocery sales, and the first five companies control almost 60% of sales.
The top 25 companies control fully 85% of sales.
Other changes of note included 7-Eleven Inc. dropping from number 10 in 2009 to number 12 last year, replaced in the top 10 by H.E. Butt Grocery Co., which had been number 11.
Canadian supermarket Sobeys Stellarton moved up in the third five from 13 to 11.
Whole Foods Market Inc. demonstrated the extent to which demand continued to grow for natural and organic foods, increasing its sales 12.5% and its store count 5.2% last year and moving up the list of the top 25 systems from 21 to 18. However, Whole Foods only represented 0.9% of total industry sales.
The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. dropped from number 18 to number 21 as the company struggled with costs and flagging sales and filed for bankruptcy reorganization.
New to the top 25 last year was Hy-Vee Food Stores Inc., which is now the 24th largest supermarket system in North America, replacing Winn-Dixie Stores Inc., which fell off the top 25 after closing and/or selling stores during its bankruptcy restructuring.