U.S. Supermarkets Grab Market Share From Walmart And Warehouse Chains

Despite fears that Walmart (NYSE:WMT) would devour the grocery business, conventional supermarkets actually gained market share against superstores and warehouse clubs in 2012, Supermarket News reported.

A study by DSR Marketing used government statistics to determine that supermarkets captured 59.3 percent of grocery sales in 2012, edging up 0.4 percent from 2011's 58.9 percent. Warehouse clubs and supercenters dropped to 22.6 percent in 2012 from 23.2 percent in 2011.

The problem in the U.S. may be more than just an momentary hiccup—this could be about demographics overtaking the giant stores, DSR said. "The large-format stores were designed to serve young, growing families eager to bulk-buy both foods and non-foods and save money," according to the DSR report. "They still fulfill this role in growth economies such as Brazil, China, and the [United Arab Emirates]. However, with aging populations, this market segment is shrinking with older shoppers—who generally dislike large stores—turning to small store formats."

It's worth keeping in mind that one year's numbers don't make a trend—not yet, anyway. With Walmart's recent problems in keeping its U.S. shelves stocked, this could be cause for celebration by supermarket chains only until Walmart gets its act together again.

That said, this new data was foreshadowed in April by market share numbers from Cincinnati, in which Kroger's (NYSE:KR) 2012 grocery share was 40.1 percent, up from 39.1 percent in 2010, with Walmart's grocery share down to 19.1 percent from 20.5 percent. But the numbers weren't exactly a roaring victory for supermarkets over big-box grocers: During the same period in Cincinnati, Meijer and Aldi were down while Sam's Club and Costco (NASDAQ:COST) were up.

For more:

- See this Supermarket News story

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