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The Super 10: Super Floral Retailing's exlusive annual listing of  the nation's top grocery companies

     Despite the difficult economy, most of the companies on Super Floral Retailing’s annual roundup of the top 10 U.S. supermarket companies, based on sales, showed growth last year. Sales among the chains on our list rose 3.5 percent in 2010 from 2009, to a total of $755.9 billion. Several of the top chains accomplished that with new formats and pricing strategies as well as continued commitment to consumer needs. Here’s a look at 2010 sales and other key data on the biggest grocery retailers in our industry.

1 Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Sales: $419.0 billion
$260.3 billion (62.1 percent) of Wal-Mart’s sales comes from Supercenters, Stores and Neighborhood Markets; $49.5 billion (11.8 percent) is from Sam’s Clubs; and $109.2 billion (26.1 percent) comes from international sales.
Units: 9,005 stores worldwide, including 4,418 in the United States
Grocery banners: Walmart Supercenter, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Walmart Neighborhood Market (rebranding as Walmart Market), Marketside, Walmart Express, Walmart on Campus, Supermercado, Walmart International
Headquarters: Bentonville, Ark.
Employees: 1.4 million in the United States; 2.1 million worldwide
Vice President, Produce and Floral, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.:
Manolo Reyes
Senior Director of Produce and Floral, Sam’s Club: Russ Mounce
Of note: Walmart continued to explore smaller formats in fiscal year 2011. Of the 458 new stores Walmart opened, 282 (61.6 percent) had less than 40,000 square feet. The company is testing a 15,000-square-foot Walmart Express concept and is rebranding its smaller-format Neighborhood Market banner as Walmart Market. In addition, the company opened its first Walmart on Campus in January on the grounds of the University of Arkansas, with a 3,300-square-foot prototype.

2 The Kroger Co.
Sales: $82.2 billion
Units: 2,458 supermarkets and multidepartment stores, 786 convenience stores, 361 fine-jewelry stores, 1,014 supermarket fuel centers, 40 food-processing plants
Grocery banners: Kroger, Kroger Marketplace, Kroger Fresh Fare, Dillons, Dillons Marketplace, Ralphs, Fred Meyer, Food 4 Less, Fry’s, Fry’s Marketplace, King Soopers, QFC, City Market, JayC Food Stores, Foods Co., Baker’s, Gerbes, Hilander, Owen’s, Smith’s, Smith’s Marketplace, Pay Less, Scott’s Food & Pharmacy
Headquarters: Cincinnati, Ohio
Employees: 338,000
Director of Produce and Floral Sales and Marketing: Dan Johnson
Corporate Floral Coordinator: Debi Jacobs
Of note: Kroger’s total sales increased 7.1 percent in fiscal year 2010 from fiscal year 2009. “Our ‘Customer 1st’ strategy continues to deliver results through improvements in all four key areas we target: our people, our products, the overall shopping experience in our stores, and prices,” Chairman and CEO David B. Dillon said in a press release.

3 Costco Wholesale Corp.
Sales: $77.9 billion
Units: 580 warehouse stores in the United States, Puerto Rico, Canada, Mexico, United Kingdom, Australia, Korea, Japan and Taiwan
Grocery banner: Costco Wholesale
Headquarters: Issaquah, Wash.
Employees: 107,200 in the United States; 151,000 worldwide
Live Goods Buyer, East Coast: Ken Hackman
Live Goods Buyer, West Coast: Kevin Gleason
Of note: Despite fragile economic conditions in many of its key markets, the company noted in its annual report, “2010 produced a record year for Costco in terms of sales and earnings.” In a press release reporting its March sales results, Costco disclosed it planned to open up to 14 additional new warehouses before the end of its 2011 fiscal year on Aug. 28.

4 Safeway Inc.
Sales: $41.1 billion
Units: 1,694 supermarkets and convenience stores and 32 manufacturing and food-processing plants in the United States and Canada
Grocery banners: Safeway, Vons, Dominick’s, Randalls Food & Drug, Tom Thumb Food & Pharmacy, Genuardi’s Family Market, Pavilions, Carrs Quality Center, Pak ‘N Save Foods
Headquarters: Pleasanton, Calif.
Employees: 180,000
Vice President and General Manager of Floral: Traci Adams
Of note: In a letter to stockholders in the company’s annual report, Safeway Chairman, President and CEO Steven A. Burd noted that the initiative to convert all stores to the Lifestyle concept is nearly complete. By the end of 2010, 85 percent of Safeway stores had been converted to the Lifestyle concept’s inviting atmosphere, with 74 stores opened or remodeled during the year. The company disclosed in its annual report that it plans to spend $1 billion in cash for capital expenditures in 2011.

5 Supervalu, Inc.
Sales: $37.5 billion ($28.9 billion from retail food and drug operations and $8.6 billion from supply-chain services)
Units: 2,394 stores, W. Newell & Co. produce and floral distributor
Grocery banners: Acme, Albertsons, Cub Foods, Farm Fresh Food & Pharmacy, Hornbacher’s, Jewel-Osco, Lucky, Save-A-Lot, Shaw’s/Star Market, Shop ‘n Save, Shoppers Food & Pharmacy
Headquarters: Eden Prairie, Minn.
Employees: 140,000
Senior Account Manager for Floral, W. Newell & Co.: Nancy Karp
Of note: In a press release reporting its fiscal 2011 results, Supervalu disclosed that for fiscal 2012, “Capital spending is projected to be approximately $700 to $750 million, which will include 55 to 75 store remodels and 210 hard-discount stores, including licensed locations; no new traditional retail supermarkets are planned for fiscal 2012.”

6 Publix Super Markets, Inc.
Sales: $25.1 billion
Units: 1,033 supermarkets, 11 convenience stores, 10 manufacturing plants, 128 liquor stores, 36 restaurants
Grocery banners: Publix Super Market, Publix GreenWise Market,
Publix Sabor
Headquarters: Lakeland, Fla.
Employees: 147,000
Business Development Director of Produce and Floral: Garry Bergstrom
Category Manager – Floral: Paul Keating
Of note: Publix opened 41 supermarkets in 2010 for a net increase of 1.1 million square feet, or 2.4 percent. The company also remodeled 115 stores. In its “2010 Financial Information” report, Publix wrote, “The Company anticipates continued competitor format innovation and location additions in 2011.”

7 Ahold USA
Sales: $23.5 billion
Units: 751 supermarkets, Peapod online grocery service
Grocery banners: Stop & Shop, Giant, Giant Food Stores,
Martin’s Food Markets
Headquarters: Carlisle, Pa.
Employees: 213,000 (worldwide)
Vice President of Produce and Floral: Dan McCullough
Director of Floral Sales and Merchandising: Charlie Pflug
Director of Produce and Floral Procurement: Brian Fleming
Category Manager: Kelly Krutz
Of note: Ahold USA reorganized into four geographic divisions—Stop & Shop New England, Stop & Shop New York Metro, Giant Landover and Giant Carlisle—with one support organization and executive leadership team. The company also reported that Giant Landover successfully completed Project Refresh, the three-year program to remodel approximately 100 of its stores, and that Giant Carlisle integrated the Ukrop’s Super Markets chain, remodeling the 25 stores into the Martin’s banner.

8 Delhaize America
Sales: $18.8 billion
Units: 1,627 supermarkets
Grocery banners: Food Lion; Bloom, A Food Lion Market; Hannaford Bros. Co.; Sweetbay Supermarket; Harveys; Bottom Dollar Food
Headquarters: Salisbury, N.C.
Employees: 103,839
Assistant Fresh Category Manager for Food Lion: Joy Williams
Sweetbay Director of Produce and Floral: Steve Williams
Harvey’s Director of Produce and Floral Operations: Allen Futch
Harvey’s Floral Merchandiser: Debbie Darby
Of note: Delhaize America entered the Philadelphia market with the opening of 16 Bottom Dollar Food stores in 2010. The company reported capital expenditures of $543 million in 2010, compared to $461 million
in 2009.

9 H.E. Butt Inc.
Sales: $16.1 billion (estimated)
Units: 329 in Texas and Mexico
Grocery banners: H-E-B, H-E-B Plus, Central Market, Mi Tienda and Joe V’s Smart Shop
Headquarters: San Antonio, Texas
Employees: 76,000
Director of Floral: Joe Don Zetzsche
Of note: The privately owned H-E-B Butt Inc. marked its 105th anniversary in 2010 and affirmed the company’s commitment to continued growth. Winell Herron, group vice president of Public Affairs, Diversity and Environmental Affairs, told Progressive Grocer, “We have a very aggressive new store campaign underway, including a number of stores that are also being refreshed. We also have very ambitious plans for next year as well. We are investing on all fronts in Texas.”

10 Meijer Inc.
Sales: $14.7 billion (estimated)
Units: 195 supercenters, 177 gas stations, six convenience stores, two manufacturing facilities
Grocery banner: Meijer
Headquarters: Grand Rapids, Mich.
Employees: 60,000
Floral Buyer: Jamie Robertson
Of note: Meijer announced a $75 million remodeling project for 10 stores in Michigan and Ohio in March. The company also launched an online
grocery service, called “,” which is Meijer’s first effort to sell nonbulk groceries online and is also the retailer’s first foray into international online sales.

Data from Chain Store Guide’s Directory of Supermarket, Grocery and Convenience Store Chains; Supermarket News’ “Top 75”;; and the companies’ annual reports and websites.



Reach Editor in Chief Cynthia L. McGowan at or (800) 355-8086.