Top 25 Retailers 2008

June 5, 2008
/ Print / Reprints /
/ Text Size+

PL Buyer’s annual look at the leaders in grocery, drug and mass merchandise retailing, based on 2007 dollar sales. Also included is the latest private label news from these retailers.

You might notice a few changes in this year’s Top 25 list of leading grocers, drugstores and mass merchandisers. Most notably, we’ve opened up this year’s list to include both the United States and Canada. 
     The result? A few giants that were included on last year’s list fell out of this year’s Top 25.

Other news of note is Woonsocket, R.I.-based CVS Corp.’s merger with Caremark Rx Inc. of Nashville. The move skyrocketed the new CVS/Caremark Corp. to number 2 on our 2008 list.

In the grocery sector, Eden Prairie, Minn.-based SuperValu overtook Pleasanton, Calif.-based Safeway Inc. this year, but not by much - the two companies essentially are neck and neck in terms of 2007 sales.
     With a few exceptions, the Top 25 companies had a solid year, despite growing economic concerns and rising fuel costs. Private label continues to be a major focus, too, with many companies launching innovative new store brand programs or lines - especially in the natural and organic arena.
The pages that follow provide a snapshot of our Top 25 companies and related company news. Please note that the store brands listed under each Top 25 entry do not necessarily represent an exhaustive list. In addition, some listed store brands represent exclusive agreements and/or licensing agreements.


1. Wal-Mart

Web site:

Sales: $374.5 billion

Retail Banners: Wal-Mart Supercenter, Wal-Mart, Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market, Sam’s Club

No. of Stores: More than 4,000 in the United States, approximately 278 in Canada, more than 6,800 worldwide

No. of Employees: More than 1.3 million in the United States, more than 76,700 in Canada, and more than 1.9 million worldwide

Key Personnel: S. Robson Walton, Chairman; H. Lee Scott Jr., President and CEO

The News: Sam’s Club marked its 25th anniversary in 2008; Wal-Mart reported sales for Sam’s Club at $44.4 billion, up 6.7 percent from fiscal year 2007. Overall, Wal-Mart Stores’ operating income was up 7.3 percent for the year, with income from continuing operations up 5.8 percent, the company said. This year, Wal-Mart also announced the introduction of its most energy-efficient U.S. store, the HE.5 prototype, which will use up to 45 percent less energy than the baseline Wal-Mart Supercenter.

     On the private label side, Wal-Mart said its Great Value milk (sold in Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club locations) now is being sourced exclusively from cows not treated with artificial growth hormones such as recombinant bovine somatotropin, or rBST. In addition, the company announced the launch of six eco-friendly coffees under the exclusive Sam’s Choice brand. Wal-Mart also announced the launch of its GreenLine household cleaning products in Canada.

Store Brands: Athletic Works, Better Homes & Gardens, Canopy, Durabrand, Equate, Faded Glory, Garanimals, George, George Baby, Great Value, Home Trends, Kid Connection, Mainstays, Mary-Kate and Ashley, Metro 7, No Boundaries, Ol’ Roy, Ozark Trail, Puritan, ReliOn, Sam’s Choice, Simply Basic, Spring Valley, SuperTech, TredSafe, White Stag


2. CVS/Caremark

Web site:

Sales: $76.3 billion

Retail Banner: CVS/Pharmacy

No. of Stores: Approx. 6,200 in 40 states

No. of Employees: More than 190,000

Key Personnel: Thomas M. Ryan, Chairman, President and CEO

The News: In 2007, CVS Corp. and Caremark Rx Inc. completed their transformative “merger of equals,” creating CVS/Caremark, an integrated pharmacy services provider. With the acquisition, CVS/Caremark said it became the “largest provider of prescriptions in the United States, filling or managing more than one billion prescriptions annually.” During fiscal 2007, the company said it opened 140 new retail pharmacy stores and relocated 137 others.

     CVS said its store brands - as well as its proprietary and other limited-distribution products with higher margins - accounted for approximately 14 percent of front-store sales in 2007. Moreover, the company said it would aggressively grow this business and expects it to represent 18 to 20 percent of front-store sales within the next three to five years.

Store Brands: CVS, CVS/ Pharmacy, Christophe, Essence of Beauty, Golden Emblem, Life Fitness, Lumene, Nuprin, Playskool, Skin Effects by Dr. Jeffrey Dover


3. Kroger

Web site:

Sales: $70.2 billion

Supermarket Banners: Kroger, Ralphs, King Soopers, City Market, Dillons, Smith’s, Fry’s, QFC, Baker’s, Owen’s, Jay C, Hilander, Gerbes, Pay Less

Multi-department Store Banners: Fred Meyer, Fry’s Marketplace, Kroger Marketplace, Smith’s Marketplace

Price-impact Warehouse Store Banners: Food 4 Less, Foods Co.

Convenience Stores: Turkey Hill, Kwik Shop, Loaf N’ Jug, Quik Stop, Tom Thumb

No. of Stores: 2,486 in 31 states (and 782 convenience stores)

No. of Employees: More than 310,000

Key Personnel: David B. Dillon, Chairman and CEO; Rodney McMullen, Vice Chairman; Don McGeorge, President and Chief Operating Officer

The News: Total sales increased by 8.2 percent in fiscal 2007 over 2006, Kroger said. Moreover, identical supermarket sales increased by 6.9 percent with fuel and by 5.3 percent without. The company said it also made significant gains in market share during fiscal 2007, with overall market share gains in 37 of its 44 major markets.

     In late 2007, Kroger announced an expansion of its organics line - sold under its exclusive Private Selection Organic brand - to include more than 60 products such as pasta, waffles, tea, peanut butter, snacks and milk. Earlier that year, the company launched a cholesterol-reducing, fat-free milk sold under the Active Lifestyle store brand. This milk product contains CoroWise plant sterols, an all-natural ingredient sourced from plants and found naturally in foods such as vegetables, seeds and nuts.

Store Brands: Active Lifestyle, AromaFusions, Bath & Body Therapies, Big K, store banner brands (Kroger, King Soopers, Ralphs, etc. - all national brand equivalent or better), Disney Magic Selections, Disney’s Old Yeller, Everyday Living, Holiday Home, HD Design, Kroger Value (replaces FMV), MotoTech, Naturally Preferred, Office Works, Private Selection, PS Organic, Splash Spa, Splash Sport


4. Target

Web site:

Sales: $63.4 billion

Retail Banners: Target, SuperTarget

No. of Stores: 1,613 in 47 states, including 218 SuperTargets in 22 states

No. of Employees: Approx. 366,000

Key Personnel: Bob Ulrich, Chairman and CEO; Gregg Steinhafel, President

The News: Although Target’s fiscal 2007 performance fell short of expectations as a result of sluggish second-half earnings, total revenues did increase 6.5 percent over 2006, the company said. In May 2008, Bob Ulrich retired as CEO, succeeded by Gregg Steinhafel, formerly Target’s president. Ulrich will remain as chairman through the end of fiscal 2008.

     In April 2008, Target announced a partnership with “epicurean renaissance man” Andrew Zimmern, star of the Travel Channel’s “Bizarre Foods” show. The company said Zimmern will serve as the new SuperTarget Meal Adventure Guide, inspiring guests to prepare family meals that embrace unique flavor combinations. To create these inspiring ideas, Zimmern will use an array of unique foods from Target’s exclusive Archer Farms brand, as well as other foods and ingredients.

      Outside the food arena, Target introduced a new home and baby collection - DwellStudio for Target - in partnership with home furnishing company DwellStudio.

Store Brands: Archer Farms, Boots & Barkley, C9 by Champion, Cherokee, Choxie, Circo, Converse One Star, Durabuilt, DwellStudio for Target, Embark, Gilligan & O’Malley, Go International, Greatland, Home and Bullseye Design, Isaac Mizrahi for Target, Kaori, Kitchen Essentials, LifeLong, Liz Lange for Target, Market Pantry, Merona, Michael Graves Design, Mossimo, Playwonder, ProSpirit, Room Essentials, Sonia Kashuk, Subversive for Target, Sutton & Dodge Target, Target Home, Time to Play, TruTech, Utility, Xhilaration


5. Costco

Web sites:, (Canada)

Sales: $63.1 billion

Retail Banner: Costco

No. of Stores: 392 in 40 U.S. states and Puerto Rico, 75 in nine Canadian provinces, 536 total worldwide

No. of Employees: Approx. 100,000 in the U.S.; 137,000 worldwide

Key Personnel: Jeffrey H. Brotman, Chairman; James D. Sinegal, President and CEO

The News: Costco recorded a strong fiscal 2007, with sales increasing 7 percent over fiscal 2006. However, fourth quarter results were negatively impacted by a non-recurring, non-cash pre-tax charge to increase the company’s deferred membership revenue liability.

     Costco continued to launch new products under its Kirkland Signature store brand. In December 2007, the company introduced Kirkland Signature Martha Stewart Favorite Holiday Ham into its wholesale warehouses nationwide.

     Another example of a recent innovative private label product launch is the Kirkland Signature Wine Collection, which contains three bottles of Kirkland Signature brand wine from “all parts of the globe.”

store brand: Kirkland Signature


6. Walgreen

Web site:

Sales: $53.8 billion

Retail Banner: Walgreens

No. of Stores: 6,271 in 49 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico

No. of Employees: 226,000

Key Personnel: Jeffrey A. Rein, Chairman and CEO; Gregory D. Wasson, President and CEO

The News: In fiscal 2007, Walgreen Co. recorded its 33rd consecutive year of record sales and earnings, with sales up 13.4 percent from 2006 and earnings up 16.6 percent. In addition, the company said it added 536 stores for the year (621 new, 120 acquired), while it shuttered 13. In 2008, Walgreen announced the creation of its Walgreens Health and Wellness division to manage health centers and pharmacies at large-company worksites, while continuing the rollout of Take Care Health Clinics located at Walgreens drugstores nationwide.

     Private label continues to be a focus for Walgreen. In 2008, the company announced the intro- duction of its Casual Gear line of store brand apparel. Featuring casual basics for men and women, the exclusive line includes long- and short-sleeve t-shirts; tank tops; track, yoga and lounge pants; zip-up hoodies; quilted vests and more, all in colors that are easy to mix and match.

Store Brands: Café W, Casual Gear, Deerfield Farms, European Beauty, Studio 35, W, Walgreens, Yes to Carrots


7. Supervalu

Web site:

Sales: $44.0 billion

Retail Banners: Acme, Albertsons, bigg’s, Bristol Farms, Cub, Farm Fresh, Hornbacher’s, Jewel-Osco, Osco Pharmacy, Save-A-Lot, Sav-on Pharmacy, Shaw’s/Star Market, Shop ‘n Save, Shoppers Food & Pharmacy

No. of Stores: 1,284 grocery and combination; 1,190 limited-assortment in the Midwest, East and West U.S. regions

No. of Employees: Approx. 190,000

Key Personnel: Jeffrey Noddle, Chairman and CEO; Michael Jackson, President and Chief Operating Officer

The News: SuperValu reported record net sales for fiscal year 2008 (its fiscal year 2008 ended on Feb. 23, 2008), with sales increasing by 18 percent over 2006. For the year, the company acquired eight stores in Wyoming and completed 141 major remodels, 25 minor remodels and 27 new stores. Jeff Noddle, chairman and CEO, said SuperValu would remain focused on its integration initiatives, “including the implementation of key merchandising programs and the continued rollout of our Premium, Fresh and Healthy remodel program.”

     Speaking of healthy, SuperValu’s latest launch on the private label side takes on the natural and organic arena. The company’s new Wild Harvest store brand debuted in April across most of its family of grocery stores. The brand eventually will include approximately 250 to 300 products across various categories.

store brands: Numerous private label brands under each division’s name and other store brand banners; the Wild Harvest natural and organic private label is the company’s latest launch.


8. Safeway

Web site:

sales: $43.3 billion

Retail Banners: Carrs, Dominick’s, Genuardi’s, Pavilions, Randall’s, Safeway, Tom Thumb, Vons

No. of Stores: 1,743 in the Western, Southwestern, Rocky Mountain, Midwestern and Mid-Atlantic U.S. regions and in Western Canada.

No. of Employees: Approx. 201,000

Key Personnel: Steven A. Burd, Chairman, President and CEO

The News: During fiscal year 2007, Safeway realized a 5.2 sales increase in relation to 2006, which the company attributes primarily to its “marketing strategy, Lifestyle store execution, increased fuel sales and an increase in the Canadian dollar exchange rate.”

     Safeway, one of the largest retail users of renewable energy, continued on its “green streak,” unveiling its two newest solar-powered grocery stores in April 2008 (in Northern California).

     Also in April, Safeway announced the formation of the Better Living Brands Alliance. The alliance will market the company’s O Organics and Eating Right store brand products across all retail channels in the United States starting this year. The expansion also will include the foodservice channel and international markets.

Store Brands: O Organics, Eating Right, Safeway, Basic Red, Lucerne, Primo Taglio, Priority Total Pet Care, Safeway Select, Rancher’s Reserve, Signature


9. Loblaw

Web site:

Sales: $28.9 billion

Retail Banners: Corporate: Atlantic Superstore, Dominion, Extra Foods, Loblaws, Maxi, Maxi & Cie, Provigo, the Real Canadian Superstore, Zehrs; wholesale outlets: Cash & Carry, Presto, The Real Canadian Wholesale Club; franchised and associated stores: Atlantic SaveEasy, Fortinos, no frills, SuperValu, Valu-mart, Your Independent Grocer

No. of Stores: 628 corporate and 408 franchised across Canada

No. Employees: More than 139,000

Key Personnel: Galen G. Weston, Executive Chairman; Allan L. Leighton, President and Deputy Chairman.

The News: Loblaw reported a modest increase in sales for fiscal 2007 - 2.6 percent over 2006. The company said it would continue the suspension of new store growth in 2008, with new stores likely to begin to open in 2009. Lowlaw also said it expects to spend a significant amount of money on remodeling, expanding and maintaining its existing stores in 2008.

     But the biggest news from Loblaw is the executive shakeup that occurred in April. Allan Leighton, deputy chairman, added the role of president, while Bob Vaux, chief financial officer of parent company George Weston Ltd., also became interim chief financial officer of Loblaw until further notice. Mark Foote, formerly president and chief merchandising officer, and William Wells, formerly chief financial officer, left the company.

     On the store brand side, Lowlaw introduced several new products to its 20-year-old eco-friendly PC GREEN lineup in April 2008.

store brands: Joe Fresh Style, no name, President’s Choice


10. Rite Aid

Web site:

Sales: $24.3 billion

Retail Banners: Brooks, Eckerd, Rite Aid

No. of Stores: More than 5,000 in 31 states and Washington, D.C.

No. of Employees: Approx. 116,000

Key Personnel: Mary Sammons, Chairman, President and CEO

The News: For fiscal 2008 (Rite-Aid’s fiscal 2008 ended March 1, 2008), Rite-Aid realized revenues that were 39.8 percent above 2007, but reported a net loss of $1.1 billion because of increased acquisition-related expenses and other factors. In June 2007, Rite Aid completed its purchase of the Brooks and Eckerd drugstore chains, creating the largest drugstore chain on the East Coast and “significantly strengthening its position as the third-largest national drugstore chain.” All of the more than 1,800 acquired stores will be renamed Rite Aid and offer Rite Aid products and services, the company said.

     In April 2008, Rite Aid announced the debut of a c.booth derma skin care line created exclusively for Rite Aid (by skin care specialist Colleen Booth) and a line of Rite Aid’s Pure Spring bath and body products, both of which the company said capitalize on the latest health and beauty trends.

Store Brands: Crystal Lake, PharmAssure, Owner’s Choice, Pure Spring, Salon Plus, Rite Aid


11. Publix

Web Site:

Sales: $23.0 billion

Retail Banners: Publix, Publix GreenWise, Publix Sabor

No. of Stores: 932 in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee

No. of Employees: More than 142,000

Key Personnel: Charles Jenkins Jr., Chairman; Ed Crenshaw, CEO; Todd Jones, President

The News: For fiscal 2007, Publix reported a 6.3 percent increase in sales over 2006, with comparable store sales up 4.3 percent. Publix CEO Charles Jenkins Jr. said the company’s performance “continues to be solid under difficult economic conditions.”

     In late 2007, the company opened its first Publix GreenWise Market - in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. The 39,000-square-foot store offers “an extensive selection of health, earth-friendly, all-natural and organic products,” along with conventional items for customer convenience. More such markets are in the works.

     Also in 2007, Publix announced that all of its private label brand milk would be rBST-free. And this year, the company said it scored as the highest-ranking supermarket for customer satisfaction for the 14th consecutive year, with rankings determined by the American Customer Satisfaction Index.

Store Brands: Publix, Publix GreenWise Market, Publix Premium


12. Ahold USA

Web site:

Sales: $21.0 billion

Retail Banners: Giant Food (Giant/Carlisle and Giant/Landover), Martin’s Food Markets, Peapod, Stop & Shop

No. of Stores: 706 in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Washington, D.C., West Virginia

No. of Employees: Approx. 100,000

Key Personnel: Lawrence Benjamin, Chief Operating Officer, Ahold USA: José Alvarez

President and CEO, Stop & Shop/Giant-Landover; Carl Clicker, President and CEO, Giant-Carlisle

The News: During 2007, Ahold completed its planned divestments of U.S. Foodservice and Tops Market. Its U.S. Stop & Shop and Giant/Landover operations realized a 2 percent jump in sales in fiscal 2007 compared to 2006, while its U.S. Giant/Carlisle operations rose 8.6 percent (partly because of the acquisition of Clemens Markets in fourth quarter 2006).

     In 2008, Ahold USA’s Stop & Shop chain announced its receipt of LEED Certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. The achievement distinguishes Stop & Shop not only as the first supermarket chain to earn such green certification, the company said, but also as the first company in the country earning Volume Certification under the Portfolio Program.

Store Brands: Natures Promise, Simply Enjoy, a number of national-brand-equivalent banner brands reflecting individual retail formats/banners


13. Delhaize America

Web site:

Sales: $18.2 billion

Retail Banners: Bloom, Bottom Dollar, Food Lion, Hannaford Bros., Harvey’s, Sweetbay (Kash ‘n Karry)

No. of Stores: More than 1,500 in 16 states in the eastern United States

No. of Employees: 109,000

Key Personnel: Baron Jacobs, Chairman, Delhaize Group; Pierre-Olivier Backers, President and CEO, Delhaize Group

The News: Delhaize Group had an “excellent year in 2007,” said Pierre-Oliver Backers, president and CEO, with revenues in its U.S. operations growing by 5.1 percent over 2006. At Food Lion, the company said the market renewal program and customer segmentation work continued to provide results, while Hannaford achieved strong revenue growth with the help of competitive pricing and an innovative strategy. The last Kash ‘n Karry stores, meanwhile, were converted to Sweetbay supermarkets in summer 2007, the company said, and showed the strongest sales growth in the second part of 2007.

     The Hannaford chain made news this year when it introduced Guiding Stars, the first storewide nutrition navigation system. The exclusive system offers shoppers an at-a-glance tool to help them locate foods with greater nutrition for the calories, the company said, and evaluates more than 25,000 items.

Store Brands: Bloom, Bloomberry, Bohemian Highway, Braidenwood Estates, Butcher’s, Food Lion, Hannaford, Hannaford Inspirations, Harveys, Healthy Delight, Nature’s Place, On the Go Bistro, Sweetbay


14. Kmart

Web site:

Sales: $17.3 billion

Retail Banners: Kmart, Big Kmart, Kmart Super Center

No. of Stores: 1,416 across 49 states, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands (as of Jan. 28, 2006)

No. of Employees: More than 133,000 (as of Jan. 28, 2006)

Key Personnel: Edward S. Lampert, Chairman; W. Bruce Johnson, Interim President and CEO (both with Sears Holding Corp.)

The News: For fiscal 2007, Kmart - and Sears Holding Co., its parent company - realized full-year sales and net income declines. W. Bruce Johnson, Sears Holdings’ interim president and CEO, said the results can be attributed to factors such as the worsening economic conditions and increased markdowns taken to clear excess inventory. But he said that a recently announced restructuring effort is expected to help the company better navigate difficult conditions that lie ahead.

     Fashion has been a recent private label focus for Kmart, with the company introducing the Piper & Blue juniors line, the Limon & Sal line for younger men and the Wckd “cutting edge” line for young men and women in 2008. Pets also took center stage in 2008, with Kmart launching its new Champion Breed national-brand-equivalent label representing foods, treats, toys and litter.

Store Brands: Abbey Hill, American Fare, Athletech, Attention, Basic Editions, Champion Breed, Craftsman, DieHard, Essential Home, Jaclyn Smith, Joe Boxer, Kenmore, Levi Strauss Signature, Limon & Sal, Martha Stewart Everyday, Piper & Blue, Route 66, Small Wonders, Wckd


15. Meijer

Web site:

Ssales: $13.9 billion

Retail Banner: Meijer

No. of Stores: 181 throughout Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio and Kentucky

No. of Employees: Approx. 60,000

The News: Although the privately held Meijer doesn’t publicly compare fiscal year-to-year results, the company isn’t so closed-mouth when it comes to environmental efforts. In late 2007, for example, Meijer announced the receipt of an Environmental Excellence Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency SmartWay Transport Partnership. The award honors Meijer for its leadership in conserving energy and slashing greenhouse gas emissions from its transportation and freight activities.

     In line with the company’s eco-friendly efforts is its decision to offer its supercenter shoppers store brand milk from cows that have not been treated with rBST. But private label news isn’t limited to the food side. Meijer also introduced the exclusive Cannon Classic and Cannon Royal bedding and bath lines, then followed up with an improved At Home with Meijer store brand.

Store Brands: At Home with Meijer, Cannon Classics, Cannon Royal, Drybabies, Ethical Sweaters, Falls Creek, Garfield, gfm, The Markets of Meijer, Meijer, Meijer Crystal Quenchers, Meijer Encore, Meijer Jump, Meijer M, Meijer Main Choice, Meijer Organics, MTA Sport


16. H.E. Butt

Web site:

Sales: $13.5 billion

Retail Banners: Central Market, H-E-B, H-E-B Pantry Foods, H-E-B Plus, H-E-B Kingwood Market, H-E-B Westlake Market, H-E-B Woodlands Market

No. of Stores: More than 300 in Texas and Mexico

No. of Employees: More than 60,000

Key Personnel: Charles Butt, Chairman and CEO

The News: The privately held H.E. Butt (H-E-B) continues to pride itself on innovation. This year, the company signed on with CPS Energy as the newest and largest Windtricity customer. H-E-B said it would use the non-polluting, environmentally friendly wind source to help power its 46 stores throughout San Antonio and Bexar County.

     In private label news, H-E-B introduced Slam Dunk Chocolate Chunk ice cream under the H-E-B Creamy Creations line in late 2007. The product is the first “official” ice cream inspired by the San Antonio Spurs, the company said.

store brands: Central Market All Natural, H-E-B, H-E-Buddy, H-E-B Creamy Creations, H-E-B Fully Cooked, H-E-B MooTopia, Hill Country Fare, Personal Expressions


17. Sobeys

Web site:

Sales: $12.8 billion

Retail Banners: Foodland, IGA, IGA Extra, Lawtons Drugs, Price Chopper, Sobeys

No. of Stores: More than 1,300 grocery operations and drugstores in all 10 Canadian provinces

No. of Employees: More than 75,000, including affiliated franchises

Key Personnel: Bill McEwan, President and CEO

The News: Sobeys reported a 2.5 percent sales increase over 2006, while same-store sales rose 2.4 percent.

     In June 2007, Empire Company Ltd. acquired all the outstanding shares of Sobeys it previously did not own. The arrangement took Sobeys private, delisting the company from the Toronto Stock Exchange.

     In September 2007, Sobeys announced the completion of its purchase of British Columbia-based Thrifty Foods. The sale includes 20 grocery stores.

store brands: Big 8, Compliments, Compliments Balance, Compliments Junior, Compliments Junior Disney, Compliments Organic, Compliments Seasonal Collection, Compliments Sensations, Compliments Value, IGA, IGA Extra


18. Metro

Web site:

Sales: $10.5 billion

Retail Supermarket Banners: A&P, Dominion, Food Basics, Loeb, Metro, Metro Plus, Super C

Retail Drugstore Banners: Brunet, Clini Plus, Drug Basics, The Pharmacy

No. of Stores: 553 food stores and 263 pharmacies in Quebec and Ontario, Canada

No. of Employees: Approx. 65,000

Key Personnel: Maurice Jodoin, Chairman; Eric Richer La Flèche, President and CEO

The News: Metro announced a 2.7 percent drop in sales in fiscal 2007 over 2006, yet recorded a 9.3 percent increase in net earnings. The company also announced the appointment of Eric Richer La Flèche as president and CEO, effective April 1 of this year. La Flèche, a 16-year Metro veteran, replaced Pierre H. Lessard, who retired.

     In 2007, Metro announced that it would revamp its private label program, opting for a two-tiered/two-brand strategy. The new brands are Irresistibles/Irresistibles Life Smart (premium) and Selection (national brand equivalent).

Store Brands: Irresistible/Irresistible Life Smart, Selection


19. Dollar General

Web site:

Sales: $9.5 billion

Retail Banner: Dollar General

No. of Stores: More than 8,200 in 35 states

No. of Employees: 71,500

Key Personnel: Rick Dreiling, CEO; David L. Bere, President and Chief Strategy Officer

The News: For fiscal 2007, Dollar General realized a 3.5 percent increase in net sales over 2006, while same-store sales rose 2.1 percent. The company also announced a noteworthy senior management change this year. David L. Bere, previously president and chief operating officer, was named president and chief strategy officer - a newly created position. And earlier this year, Dollar General named Richard W. Dreiling, a 38-year retail veteran, as its new CEO. The management changes come on the heels of Dollar General’s 2007 merger with affiliates of Kohlberg Kravis & Roberts & Co.

Store Brands: Clover Valley, DG Gurantee, Dollar General


20. BJ's

Web site:

Sales: $8.8 billion

Retail Banner: BJ’s Wholesale Club

No. of Stores: 177 warehouse clubs in 16 states

No. of Employees: Approx. 20,800

Key Personnel: Herbert J. Zarkin, Chairman and CEO; Laura J. Sen, President and CEO
The News: For BJ’s Wholesale Club, fiscal 2007 brought a 6.2 percent increase in sales over 2006. Comparable club sales rose by 3.7 percent.

     Earlier this year, the company named Laura Sen, a 15-year BJ’s veteran, president and chief operating officer. The company also announced the restructuring of its merchandising division under the leadership of Christina Neppl, who succeeded Sen as executive vice president of merchandising and logistics.

Store Brands: Berkeley & Jensen, Executive Choice, Lanesboro, Rozzano, Wellesley Farms


21. Shoppers Drug Mart

Web site: www.shoppers

Sales: $8.4 billion

Retail Banners: Shoppers Drug Mart, Shoppers Home Health Care, Pharmaprix

No. of Stores: 1,095 across Canada

No. of Employees: Approx. 45,000

Key Personnel: David M. Williams, Chair of the Board of Directors; Jürgen Schreiber, President and CEO

The News: Canada’s largest drugstore chain realized an 8.9 percent sales increase in fiscal 2007 over 2006, with same-store sales up 5.2 percent. Net earnings rose 16.8 percent. During fiscal 2007, Shoppers Drug Mart opened or acquired 121 drugstores, 44 of which were relocations, and closed seven stores. The company also said it added two home health care stores to its network.

     On the private label side, the company introduced 170 Nativa Organics food items in 2008 - the largest food product launch in the company’s history. The launch follows Shoppers’ late 2007 introduction of its exclusive Le Chocolat premium imported Belgian chocolates.

Store Brands: Bio-Life, Easypix, Everyday Market, Le Chocolat, Life Brand, Nativa, Nativa Organics, Quo


22. Winn-Dixie

Web site:

Sales: $7.2 billion

Retail Banners: SaveRite, Winn-Dixie, Winn-Dixie Marketplace

No. of Stores: 520 in Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia, Mississippi

No. of Employees: More than 52,000

Key Personnel: Peter L. Lynch, Chairman, President and CEO

The News: For fiscal 2007, Winn-Dixie reported a slight (1.0 percent) gain in sales over 2006, with identical-store sales up 1.6 percent. The company also posted positive net income compared to a loss for 2006.

     In 2008, the company said it reached an agreement to sell the two dairies it owns in Plant City, Fla., and Hammond, Ind., to Southeast Milk Inc. The company also is in the midst of relaunching all 3,000 of its private label products. Winn-Dixie is phasing out most of its 58 different private brands to establish better brand awareness with the remaining “big” three: premium Winn & Lovett products, national-brand-equivalent Winn-Dixie items and value-oriented Thrifty Maid products.

Store Brands: Kuddles, Thrifty Made, Winn Dixie, Winn & Lovett


23. Giant Eagle

Web site:

Sales: $7.1 billion

Retail Banners: GetGo, Giant Eagle, Giant Eagle Express, Market District

No. of Stores: 223 throughout Western Pennsylvania, Ohio, Northern West Virginia, Western Maryland

No. of Employees: Approx. 36,000

Key Personnel: David S. Shapira, Chairman, President and CEO

The News: The privately held Giant Eagle continues to be an energy-efficiency leader, receiving the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star Partner of the Year Award in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007. But the company also made news this year when it filed a lawsuit against Pennsylvania-based Hershey Co., Virginia-based Mars Inc., Swiss conglomerate Nestlé and Cadbury Schweppes Plc of London - alleging price fixing related to more than $190 million in chocolate it purchased from the companies between 2002 and 2007.

     Early this year, Giant Eagle relaunched the former LeNature’s bottling and water purification plant in Latrobe, Pa. The company acquired the plant out of bankruptcy in September 2007, and renamed the facility the Chestnut Ridge Beverage Co. The plant is producing Giant Eagle brand bottled water and is expected to also produce flavored water, teas and carbonated beverages.

Store Brands: Giant Eagle, Market District, Nature’s Basket, Valu Time


24. Family Dollar

Web Site:

Sales: $6.8 billion

Retail Banner: Family Dollar

No. of Stores: More than 6,400 in 44 states

No. of Employees: 44,000

Key Personnel: Howard R. Levine, Chairman and CEO

The News: Family Dollar reported a 6.9 rise in fiscal 2007 sales over fiscal 2006. Same-store sales were up 0.9 percent. During fiscal 2007, the company said it opened 300 new stores and closed 43 locations.

     The North Carolina-based chain is in the process of increasing the amount of shelf space devoted to food items in 2,700 of its stores. According to news reports, Family Dollar will be augmenting its assortment of food offerings with its Family Pantry private label - with an eye on increasing private label quality and sales.

Store Brands: Family Dollar, Family Pantry, Kidgets


25. Whole Foods

Web site:

Retail Banners: Alfalfa’s Market, Capers Community Market, Fresh & Wild, Harry’s Farmers Market, Whole Foods Market, Wild Oats

No. of Stores: More than 270 in 37 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., Canada and the United Kingdom

No. of Employees: More than 53,000

Key Personnel: John Mackey, Chairman and CEO; A.C. Gallo and Walter Robb, Co-Presidents and Chief Operating Officers

The News: Whole Foods closed on its acquisition of Boulder, Colo.-based Wild Oats Markets Inc. in August 2007. The company reported a 15.3 percent increase in fiscal 2007 sales over 2006, and said its identical-store sales realized a 5.8 percent sales gain.

     The eco-conscious company made news in January when it announced a decision to sack its plastic shopping bags by Earth Day. The company also said its new Whole Foods Market in Glastonbury, Conn., will be the first supermarket to generate most of its power on-site (with an ultra-clean fuel cell from UTC Power).

Store Brands: 365 Everyday Value, 365 Organic, Whole Baby, Whole Dairy, Whole Kitchen, Whole Pantry, Whole Foods

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Private Label Buyer.

Recent Articles by Kathie Canning

You must login or register in order to post a comment.



Image Galleries

September 2014 New Food Products

This month's new food products include cane sugars, barbeque sauce, condiments in squeeze bottles, cinnamon snack seasoning, and jalapeno tzatziki, ice cream, herb toasts, corn puffs, instant coffee, coconut water, and a water enhancer.


Coming with a clear, comprehensive plan was the key to success for Longo Brothers Fruit Markets when the grocer decided to roll out a two-tier private label strategy, Jenny Longo and Robert Koss tell PLBuyer editor Chris Freeman in this podcast.

More Podcasts

Private Label Buyer Magazine

PLB September 2014 cover

September 2014

The September 2014 issue of Private Label Buyer includes a convenience channel update, as well as category insights on frozen store brand trends and health and beauty items. Check it out today!

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Private Label Segments

Which segment of private label will see the biggest growth over the next year?
View Results Poll Archive

Clear Seas Research

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications,Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.

PLB Marketplace


facebook_40px twitter_40px  youtube_40pxlinkedin_40pxgoogle+ icon 40px