The balance of the US food business will tip in favour of general merchandise-focused retailers by 2013, an industry conference was told this week.

A seminar held over the web on Tuesday (31 January) heard that if the current trends continue, food-focused retailers, eg, supermarkets and limited-assortment stores, will drop from the 52% share they enjoyed in 2004 to a 40.2% share in 2013.

The prediction was made by Jim Hertel, senior vice-president, Willard Bishop, which hosted the seminar with The Food Institute.

Hertel said: “At the same time, general merchandise-focused retailers, eg supercentres, mass, drug, club, and dollar stores, will increase their share from 31.9% in 2004 to 43.5%, surpassing food-focused retailers.”

“This is a dramatic shift from the days of supermarket dominance when more traditional food stores sold about 90% of all food and consumables in the US (1988 figures),” said Bill Bishop, president of Willard Bishop.

“Manufacturers and suppliers of food and consumables need to understand the implications of this trend on their business. It is critical for them to build trade plans and strategies to address their shifting retail customer base.”
However, the seminar was also told that two types of stores continue to gain share within food-focused retailers: limited-assortment stores are expected to grow from a 2005 share of 1.7% of the market to a 2% share in 2009.

Fresh stores are expected to grow from a 2005 share to 0.7% to 1.2% in 2009. Supercentres, meanwhile, continue to gain share, going from a 14% share in 2005 to a projected 17.3% by 2009 and a more extensive food offering in mass merchants has levelled their share loss in food and consumables to 5.5%.

Discounters, including clubs, supercenters, dollar stores, mass, super warehouse stores, and limited-assortment stores, now represent more than 30% of the total market, up from 25% in 2000.