15 Largest Supermarket Chains in The World

In this article, we will be taking a look at the 15 largest supermarket chains in the world. To skip our detailed analysis, you can go directly to see the 5 largest supermarket chains in the world.

Grocery shopping used to just be an arduous task; make a list, go to the store, find the relevant items and come back. However, grocery stores have evolved through the decades, which has led to the creation of supermarkets, giant stores with every conceivable item from different parts of the world! You can now buy dozens, if not hundreds of different types of items, from cereals to tissue papers to chocolates to ready-made meals. Nowadays, people spend a lot more time in the store than they used to, because it is fun to just roam around and take a look at different products, as well as different deals which most supermarkets now offer to entice customers even further.

In fact, according to data collected from over 1,800 shopping trips, customers in the United Kingdom spend close to 17 hours, or over one waking day, just shopping for groceries each month. Of course, it should also be noted that it can take time to travel to and from shopping stores, which is included in the aforementioned duration. However, these trends will likely decrease now, with the advent of online shopping. Most supermarkets now maintain a significant online presence, and some are exclusively online, which is preferred by many as it offers convenience. In some locations, supermarkets or grocery stores even deliver food as fast as restaurants, while in most cases, you can get your groceries within a day or two.

However, this may not be as convenient for single people, as often, there is a standard delivery fee associated with ordering groceries online, while there can also be a minimum order requirement. For a single person, this can be inconvenient as there is a risk of spoilage if you order in bulk for one person, which can actually be even more expensive in the long run. That is why many singles prefer to shop in a supermarket for a few items per trip, as per their needs and requirements.

Largest Supermarket Chains in The World
Largest Supermarket Chains in The World

Image by Squirrel_photos from Pixabay

Technology has found its way in more or less every industry, and the supermarket industry is no exception. Self-checkout machines can be found in most supermarkets in the United States, Europe and Canada, reducing the number of staff required for operating and also just being more efficient overall. Further, this is great news for introverts who want to avoid any social interaction and just be able to buy whatever they want without having to interact with anyone. That's why you can often see checkout staff sitting idly while people queue up at self-checkout machines because it is almost always more efficient.

Some stores have even gone a step further with technology. These stores have absolutely no staff at all, and just includes stocked products. For people who want to shop from such stores, they just need to download the app, and scan it before entering the store. At the stores, they can simply lift products from shelves and can leave with them, without even having to scan the items. Cameras in the store pick the items selected by the purchaser and are then charged directly through the app.

To determine the largest supermarket chains in the world, we first referred Supermarket News report on the biggest supermarkets in the world. Before we go further, it is important to note the difference between supermarkets and typical retailers. We can't consider companies which would technically not be classified as supermarkets such as Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN), while even companies such as Walmart Inc. (NYSE:WMT) are superstores or a supercenter. Meanwhile, Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ:COST) is a warehouse club or wholesale club, which sells bulk items on discount due to economies of scale. If we considered Amazon.com and Walmart Inc, they would have found a place in our list as these two companies are also among the biggest companies in the world by employee count. We have focused on companies which operate supermarkets and even then, Supermarket News has only considered revenue derived from supermarket operations. We selected the top 15 based on FY 2020 revenue. Once we had the top 15, we also ranked them according to the number of locations they have, to come up with a more accurate representation of the biggest supermarket chains in the world. We then gave 70% weightage to revenue and 30% to the number of locations to determine the most accurate ranking, which we shall now take a look at, starting with number 15:

15. Wegmans Food Markets Inc.

FY 2020 revenue (in $ million): 10.68

Total number of global locations: 105

Wegmans operates in the Northeaster and mid-Atlantic region, with stores in at least 8 states and expansion plans for two more. It has appeared in Fortune's list of "100 best companies to work for" every time since 1998 and was ranked 3rd in 2020.

14. Southeastern Grocers

FY 2020 revenue (in $ million): 9.64

Total number of global locations: 523

Headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida, Southeastern Grocers actually declared bankruptcy in 2018, which resulted in the closure of close to 100 stores. Some of the subsidiaries under the company include Harveys Supermarkets, Fresco y Más and Winn-Dixie.

13. Giant Eagle

FY 2020 revenue (in $ million): 10.35

Total number of global locations: 474

Giant Eagle operates in several states in the United States, including West Virginia, Maryland, Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania. It is considered to be one of the biggest private companies in the United States.

12. Hy-Vee

FY 2020 revenue (in $ million): 12.15

Total number of global locations: 265

Hy-Vee is an employee-owned chain of supermarkets, focused in the Southern and Midwestern United States, where the full service supermarkets include delicatessens, bakeries, floral departments, pharmacies, health clinics, coffee clinics and even dine-in.

11. Wakefern Food Corporation

FY 2020 revenue (in $ million): 18.37

Total number of global locations: 363

Wakefern Food Corporation is the largest retailers' cooperative group in the United States, and in 2018, was the biggest employer in New Jersey, with over 40,000 employees. The company also owns several major famous brands such as The Fresh Grocer, Price Rite Marketplace, ShopRite and Fairway Market.

10. Metro Inc.

FY 2020 revenue (in $ million): 14.26

Total number of global locations: 1,601

There are a few Canadian supermarket chains among the largest supermarket chains in the world, with Metro being the third-largest grocer in the country. There are various stores operated by Metro including its namesake, Super C which is the discount supermarket division, Food Basics, Metro Plus and Marché Richelieu. In 2011, Metro became a major shareholder of Marché Adonis, which is considered to be among Quebec's biggest ethnic food companies which specializes in Mediterranean food. In 2020, Metro also announced that it will be investing $420 million in the next five years to enable the construction of an automated distribution center to store fresh and frozen products.

9. Trader Joes

FY 2020 revenue (in $ million): 16.5

Total number of global locations: 530

Trader Joes is a household name across the United States, and with good reason; the company boasts more than 500 stores across the country and provides employment to over 50,000 people nationwide. While Trader Joes has been in the news for introducing sustainability initiatives such as improving packaging, eliminating food waste and phasing out unsustainable foods, it has still come under criticism for not doing enough, being ranked poorly in a Green Peace report on sustainable food in 2013. Since it's not listed, Trader Joes has been accused of operation secretively and not being transparent enough to allow the general population to ascertain whether the company isn't engaged in any shady practices such as child labor or deforestation.

8. H-E-B

FY 2020 revenue (in $ million): 31.75

Total number of global locations: 351

Quite a few of the biggest supermarket chains in the world aren't listed on the stock exchange and H-E-B is no exception. In fact, considering its revenues, Forbes mentioned it among the top 10 private companies in the United States. One of the reasons H-E-B is preferred by many is the fact that it donates 5% of pre-tax profits to charity.

7. Aldi Einkauf GmbH & Co. oHG and Aldi International Services GmbH & Co. oHG

FY 2020 revenue (in $ million): 18.44

Total number of global locations: 2,070

Two German companies own the Aldi brand, and maintain a presence in the United States, France, Denmark, Hungary, Ireland, Austria, Italy, China and Poland. It is considered to be among the best supermarkets in Europe, winning the Supermarket of the Year two consecutive years in 2012 and 2013 in the United Kingdom. Aldi stores are also famous for being no-frills stores, displaying several products at discount prices while also specializing in toilet paper, food, beverages and miscellaneous inexpensive household items.

6. Sobeys Inc.

FY 2020 revenue (in $ million): 26.59

Total number of global locations: 1,933

Sobeys is the second largest supermarket chain in Canada, with close to 2,000 locations and nearly $27 million in annual revenue. While Sobeys maintains its headquarters in Nova Scotia, it has operations in all 10 provinces in Canada, and banks on its goodwill maintained from over 100 years of existence, having started in 1907 as a meat delivery business.


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Disclosure: None. 15 largest supermarket chains in the world is originally published at Insider Monkey.