Coles and Woolworths make list of world’s leading grocers

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 31st July 2008

Supermarket aisle - shopping trolley

Planet Retail has announced the world’s top 30 grocery retailers (by sales), with Wal-Mart at the top of the heap for the tenth straight year.

Sales of US$395.31* billion (A$419.45 billion) last year enabled US retailer Wal-Mart to eclipse the French-based Carrefour in second place, which had approximately A$145 billion in sales. Tesco, the leading UK retailer, climbed from fourth to third thanks to sales of A$105 billion.

Australia’s two market leaders, Woolworths and Coles Group, came in at 23rd and 27th respectively. Planet Retail estimated sales of just under A$45b for Woolworths and almost A$35b for Coles. The list was otherwise dominated by US, Japanese, French, German and UK retailers.

The report found that the top 30 global grocers accounted for sales of US$21.1 trillion (A$22.39 trillion) last year, representing 31 per cent of the global market.

It was also established that the world’s leading grocers were increasing their overseas focus as their home markets become more saturated. Tesco was a prime example, with their increased attention in the US market via their Fresh & Easy stores coupled with greater interest in the opportunities presented by the growth in Asia.

“Emerging markets have become increasingly attractive for the major grocers. All eyes are on India, Russia and China – three huge economies which can be expected to remain in a constant state of fast-track economic growth for many years to come,” Planet Retail’s Grocery Research Manager and Global Top 30 report author, Natalie Berg, advised in the report.

The top ten were (country of ownership in brackets): Wal-Mart (USA), Carrefour (France), Tesco (UK), Metro (Germany), Seven and I (Japan), Kroger (USA), AEON (Japan), Target (USA), Schwarz Group (Germany) and Costco (USA).

Planet Retail also forecast the top ten for 2013, which left the top four unchanged, with Schwarz Group (9th-5th) and Costco (10th to 8th) anticipated to be among the biggest movers in the top ten.

* sales figures incorporate food and non-food sales.