Business news from the Fredericksburg region.
Walmart gaining on Food Lion
BY CATHY JETT
Food Lion still reigns as king of supermarket sales in the Fredericksburg region.
But it is continuing to lose ground to challenger Walmart, which beat Giant Food for second place in Food World magazine’s latest annual market share survey for the Mid-Atlantic region.
Food Lion “has over the years lost its once-strong price image and has done little to add variety and perishables to the mix,” according to the study.
Its 24 stores, including Bottom Dollar, in Fredericksburg and the counties of Caroline, Culpeper, King George, Orange, Spotsylvania, Stafford and Westmoreland, rang up a total of $258.7 million in sales from April 11, 2011, to March 13, the period analyzed. That’s down from $261 million in the same time frame in the previous survey.
The area’s sole Wegmans rang up the best sales for a single store—$60.9 million. That’s up from $60.3 in the previous survey and is more than Costco and BJ’s Wholesale Club combined.
This is the 34th year that Food World has published a grocery market share study for the region. The magazine focuses solely on food and drug sales. It does not include gas sales for either convenience or grocery stores.
Walmart posted $226.1 million in sales in the new survey, up from $210 million in the previous time period. The figure would have been even higher if the survey had not overlooked its nine-month-old store in King George Gateway shopping center.
At Giant Food, sales slipped from $214 million in the previous survey, when it was in second place, to $181.28 million in the new one. Part of that decline is likely due to the closing of its store in Spotsylvania Crossing in April of 2011. But the magazine said that Giant had “a rather flat year” and that it, along with Safeway and Shoppers Food & Pharmacy, “all lost market share to non-traditional retailers and other emerging supermarket chains.”
These include Target, which it said “enjoyed another fine year, as did Costco and high-volume convenience store retailer Wawa.”
Locally, sales at Target’s five stores totaled $77.2 million, according to the new survey. That’s up from $76.3 in the previous one, but it wasn’t enough to keep its fourth-place position.
It ceded that to Wawa, which saw sales at its 14 stores climb from $74.59 to $79.09 million. CVS, which moved into fifth place, also ahead of Target, also saw an increase. Its 16 stores’ sales went from $75.7 million to $77.4 million.
Those figures underscore the survey’s assertion that: “Another phenomenon in recent years which has now become a reality is that the non-traditional supermarket channels continue to outpace growth of conventional supermarket retailers by a better than 2-to-1 margin.”
In addition, some counties have few local options for buying groceries at stores included in the survey. In Caroline, for example, there are only two major chains: Food Lion, which has two stores there, and Rite Aid, which has one.
Other retailers making the top 10 for the region included Wegmans; 7–Eleven, $36.50 million; Costco, $36.50 million; and BJ’s, $23.70 million.
Ranking varies from locality to locality, however. In Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania, which the study combines and has the largest number of retailers selling groceries and drugs, Walmart’s four supercenters came in tops with $127.2 million in sales, followed by Giant with $94.64 million and Food Lion and its Bottom Dollar division with $90.6 million.
Cathy Jett: 540/374-5407