Wal-Mart didn’t get into selling groceries in a big way until 1988, when they started swallowing up market share with their supercenters. Today, according to Supermarket News and the U.S. Commerce Department, Wal-Mart (and its warehouse division, Sam’s Club), now controls $96.2 billion out of a $682.3 billion grocery store market in the United States, or 14% of all grocery store sales. The top ten companies control half (50.4%) of all grocery sales. In second place was Kroger ($50 billion), third, Albertson’s ($38.3 billion), fourth, Safeway ($34.4 billion), fifth, Costco ($34.1 billion), sixth, Royal Ahold ($23.2 billion) seventh, Supervalu, $21.3 billion), eighth, Fleming ($15.8 billion), ninth, Delhaize America ($15.2 billion) and tenth, Publix ($15.1 billion).These figures mean that over the past year, Wal-Mart (including Sam’s) sold $183,029 worth of groceries every minute of every day, or $263.56 million in food everyday. Groceries make up about 30% of the sales at a supercenter, and supercenters are about 30% of total sales at Wal-Mart. All together, Wal-Mart sales came to $221 billion last year, or $605.48 million in overall sales per day, or $420,471 in sales per minute.
The top ten grocers control half of the food market in the country, and Wal-Mart has become the top grocer in just 14 years. Where is the FTC when you need them? Looking for marshmellows? They’re right over in the monopoly section.