But there’s a hitch

The Kroger Company consistently shows up in lists of the top supermarket companies in the United States. Kroger’s operates over 2,700 stores, including some that operate under the Ralphs, King Soopers, and Dillon’s brands. In 2018 Kroger reported over $105 billion in revenue which is far ahead of second place Albertsons which owns Safeway, Acme and Tom Thumb.

But there is a hitch. When most people think about supermarkets they think about the stores where they go to buy their food. But the supermarket retail format is defined strictly as a store offering a full-line of groceries, meat, and produce with at least $2 million in annual sales. They typically carry about 15,000 SKUs, provide a service deli and frequently offer a service bakery. Most of a traditional supermarket’s revenue still generated from grocery/food products but up to 15 percent of sales stem from general merchandise/health and beauty care (GMHBC) category. The hitch is that the company that sells far more food than any other – including Kroger – is not categorized as a Supermarket. That company is Walmart.

Despite the fact the over half of Walmart’s U.S. sales comes from food sales Walmart isn’t counted in the lists of the largest supermarkets – although Walmart is clearly the leader in any list of top ‘grocery chains’. This category quirk leaves the #2 food retailer, Kroger Co., to top the list largest supermarket companies – even though Walmart sells far more food than Kroger. Interestingly, Walmart owned Neighborhood Market has $17 billion in annual sales and makes the top 10 list of Supermarkets

Below is a list of the top 5 US Supermarket companies (minus Walmart) for 2020:

Supermarket Company 2019 revenue
The Kroger Co. $122 billion
Albertsons $62 billion
Royal Ahold Delhaize USA $44 billion
Publix Super Markets $38 billion
H.E. BUTT GROCERY CO $28 billion