- Data from the National Retail Federation shows Albertsons, Sprouts Farmers Market and Southeastern Grocers are the fastest-growing retail companies in the U.S, reports Retail Info Systems.
- Albertsons, Sprouts and SE Grocers have seen five-year annual sales growth of 74.1%, 47.4% and 34.6%, respectively.
- Albertsons, with more than $60 billion in revenue, is rumored to be looking to purchase organic and natural food retailers Whole Foods or Sprouts Farmers Market.
In a overcrowded, increasingly competitive grocery space, growth is a major measure of a retailer's success. This can be achieved through store remodels, new location openings, the introduction of new formats like c-stores, grocerants and mergers and acquisitions.
Albertsons, the fastest-growing American retailer, is looking to expand its reach by making deals. Most recently, the grocer's Jewel Food Stores business offered to buy 19 Strack & Van Til stores for $70 million, plus an additional $30 million for inventory, in a court-led bankruptcy auction.
By acquiring these stores, Jewel-Osco — and parent company Albertsons — will be able to strengthen its presence in the Midwest market and better compete with discount grocers. Albertsons also has been rumored to be interested in buying Whole Foods and Sprouts Farmers Market, purchases that would bolster its natural and organic offerings and give it access to a new base of loyal consumers.
Strategic acquisitions —highlighted by its 2014 acquisition of Safeway for more than $9 billion — are what has pushed Albertsons to the front of the grocery pack, vaulting it above some of the struggles the industry is facing. In the past five years, the retail chain went from 200 stores and $4 billion in sales to more than 2,300 stores and $60 billion in annual sales. In its Q4 earnings report, the company said it will complete around 150 upgrade and store remodel projects while opening 15 new locations this year.
Sprouts also has seen healthy growth, and will build 32 new locations this year, expanding a retail footprint that already boasts over 260 stores across 15 states. Southeastern Grocers, on the other hand, has seen some bumps in its road to expansion. The retailer will close 20 stores in its Winn-Dixie and Harvey's businesses, and is reportedly in talks to refinance its debt. It will be interesting to see if this news is nothing more than a hiccup in its strategy, or if it's indicative of further declines.