Giant's Market Share Declines

By Ylan Q. Mui
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, June 16, 2007

Giant Food continued to lose market share in the Washington area over the past year as top competitors Safeway and Shoppers Food Warehouse strengthened their positions, according to an annual study by Food World, a trade publication.

The magazine's annual ranking of local supermarkets calculated sales and market share for the year ended March 31. Giant still topped the list of the 10 leading supermarket chains in the region with 133 stores that totaled $3.41 billion in sales, or 37.12 percent of the market. Giant, which is owned by the Dutch conglomerate Royal Ahold, had 132 stores and $3.34 billion in sales that accounted for a 38.02 percent market share the previous year.

"Competition has increased significantly within the region," Giant spokesman Barry F. Scher said. "That had an effect upon us."

Scher said the chain is committed to a turnaround, pointing to opening stores with a larger format and the start of a value improvement plan that lowered many prices.

The top three chains accounted for about 79 percent of the region's $9.18 billion grocery market. Safeway ranked second with 109 stores and $2.56 billion in sales, or 27.69 percent of the market. The previous year, it drew in $2.43 billion at its 108 stores, a 27.48 percent market share. Safeway spokesman Greg TenEyck attributed the uptick to the continued rollout of the chain's remodeled "lifestyle" stores that emphasize its perishable food departments.

Shoppers Food Warehouse was the third-largest player with 42 stores and $1.35 billion in sales. It captured 14.56 percent of the market, down slightly from 14.89 percent the previous year.

© 2007 The Washington Post Company