Research Resources

Supermarket Facts

Industry Overview 2013

Data for 2013 will be updated as it becomes available throughout the second half of 2014.


Number of employees
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
3.4 million
Total supermarket sales-2013
Source: Progressive Grocer Magazine
$620.218 billion
Number of supermarkets-2013 ($2 million or more in annual sales)
Source: Progressive Grocer Magazine
Net profit after taxes-2013
Source: Food Marketing Institute
Median Total Store Size in Square Feet-2013
Source: Food Marketing Institute
Median weekly sales per supermarket-2013
Source: Food Marketing Institute
Percentage of disposable income spent on food--USDA figure for 2012
food away-from-home
Source: USDA

4.3 %
See Table 7
Weekly sales per square foot of selling area-2013
Source: Food Marketing Institute
Sales per customer transaction-2013
Source: Food Marketing Institute
Sales per labor hour (median, unweighted)-2013
Source: Food Marketing Institute
Average number of trips per week consumers make to the supermarket-2013
Source: Food Marketing Institute
Average number items carried in a supermarket in 2013
Source: Food Marketing Institute

Store Format Definitions

Traditional Supermarket - Stores offering a full line of groceries, meat, and produce with at least $2 million in annual sales and up to 15% of their sales in GM/HBC. These stores typically carry anywhere from 15,000 to 60,000 SKUs (depending on the size of the store), and may offer a service deli, a service bakery, and/or a pharmacy.

Fresh Format -Different from traditional supermarkets and traditional natural food stores, fresh stores emphasize perishables and offer center-store assortments that differ from those of traditional retailers—especially in the areas of ethnic, natural,and organic, e.g., Whole Foods, Publix GreenWise, The Fresh Market, and some independents.

Superstore - A supermarket with at least 30,000 sq. ft., generating $12 million or more annually and offering an expanded selection of non-food items. Specialty departments and extensive services are offered.

Warehouse Store
- Grocery store with limited service that eliminates frills and concentrates on price appeal; items may be displayed in their original shipping cartons rather than placed individually on shelves. Stores may also sell bulk food and large size items.

Super Warehouse
- A high-volume hybrid of a large Traditional Supermarket and a Warehouse store. Super Warehouse stores typically offer a full range of service departments, quality perishables, and reduced prices, e.g., Cub Foods, Food 4 Less,and Smart & Final.

Limited-Assortment Store
- A low-priced grocery store that offers a limited assortment of center-store and perishable items (fewer than 2,000), e.g., Aldi, Trader Joe’s, and Save-A-Lot.

- The small corner grocery store that carries a limited selection of staples and other convenience goods. These stores generate approximately $1 million in business annually.

Non-Traditional Grocery

Wholesale Club
- A membership retail/wholesale hybrid with a varied selection and limited variety of products presented in a warehouse-type environment. These 120,000 square-foot stores have 60% to 70% GM/HBC and a grocery line dedicated to large sizes and bulk sales. Memberships include both business accounts and consumer groups, e.g., Sam’s Club, Costco, and BJ’s.

Supercenters - A hybrid of a large Traditional Supermarket and a Mass Merchandiser. Supercenters offer a wide variety of food, as well as non-food merchandise. These stores average more than 170,000 square feet and typically devote as much as 40% of the space to grocery items, e.g., Walmart Supercenters, Super Target, Meijer, and Fred Meyer.

Dollar Store - A small store format that traditionally sold staples and knickknacks, but now sales of food and consumable items at aggressive price points account for at least 20%, and up to 66%, of their volume, e.g., Dollar General, Dollar Tree, and Family Dollar.

Drug Store
- A prescription-based drug store that generates 20% or more of its total sales from consumables, general merchandise, and seasonal items. This channel includes major chain drug stores such as Walgreens and CVS but does not include stores/chains, e.g., The Medicine Shoppe, that sell prescriptions almost exclusively.

Mass Merchandiser
- A large store selling primarily hardlines, clothing, electronics, and sporting goods but also carries grocery and non-edible grocery items. This channel includes traditional Walmart, Kmart, and Target stores, etc.

Military Commissary
- A format that looks like a Conventional grocery store carrying groceries and consumables but is restricted to use by active or retired military personnel. Civilians may not shop at these stores which are referred to as commissaries

Sources: Progressive Grocer's 2010 Marketing Guidebook and Willard Bishop,The Future of Food Retailing, 2009 .

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