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    PG Presents 'Super 50' Retailer Countdown in May Issue

    'Ripple effects' of industry flux underscore annual ranking

    By Bridget Goldschmidt, EnsembleIQ | Debra Chanil, EnsembleIQ | Jim Dudlicek, EnsembleIQ | Meg Major, EnsembleIQ

    During a 12-month expedition that’s spawned dramatic ripples across the mighty supermarket seas, this year’s annual Super 50 ranking of the nation’s leading food retailers is punctuated by a swift undercurrent of mergers, acquisitions, spinoffs and wider expansion nets that are col­lectively redefining the ecosystem.

    For this year’s annual countdown of the nation’s leading food retailers, we chose to frame our analysis within a nautical theme in a nod to the ebb and flow of the times and consumer preferences.

    Like the ripples in a pond, major shifts at the source trigger currents that are ultimately felt all the way down­stream. M&A activity among the larger players can be a cold splash in the face for smaller operators that must decide how to react. Far-reaching ripples can also serve to make the entire ecosystem stronger, by forcing cohorts to shore up core competencies and gird against vulnerabilities to maintain and grow market share. It can also sound the alarm for stragglers, which are required to tread water amid bigger fish in a much smaller pond.

    Our Super 50 analysis breaks down select players into five “oceans,” each consisting of common characteristics akin to each — some of which swim in more than one sea:

    • At the Helm: Larger legacy retailers that have weathered many a storm over the years, with strategic growth, innovation and a com­mitment to the customer experience.
    • Rising Tide: Owning a strong presence in their various market areas, these grocers, through a savvy mix of tried-and-true ap­proaches, are well grounded and willing to take risks with new concepts to forge ahead.
    • Beyond the Mainstream: Grocers owning the natural and organic category, or swal­lowing an ever larger portion of it, through persistent stewardship and faithful execution.
    • Changing Course: These retailers have redefined themselves, or are in the process of endeavoring to do so, as a way of better navi­gating the changing demands of a dynamic marketplace.
    • Steady as They Go: Regional players with true staying power, dedicated to their core customers and local communities.

    In a titanic struggle for market share in an increas­ingly predatory arena, a rising tide may not necessarily be enough to lift all boats. But our Super 50 contenders each play an integral role in the tempestuous sink-or-swim supermarket ecosphere.

    Progressive Grocer's May 2016 issue is available here.

    By Bridget Goldschmidt, EnsembleIQ | Debra Chanil, EnsembleIQ | Jim Dudlicek, EnsembleIQ | Meg Major, EnsembleIQ
    • About Bridget Goldschmidt In addition to serving as Progressive Grocer’s Managing Editor, Bridget writes many print and digital features encompassing a range of grocery and fresh categories across the store. Bridget also enjoys on-site reporting assignments at such key industry events as the New York Fancy Food Show and the International Boston Seafood Show, in addition to visiting stores for PG’s prestigious Store of the Month feature. In her years with the magazine, she has developed into a knowledgeable voice on grocery industry trends, sought by such distinguished publications as The New York Times. Follow her at www.twitter.com/BGoldschmidtPG.
    • About Debra Chanil Debra Chanil is Director of Market Research of EnsembleIQ. She can be reached at [email protected]
    • About Jim Dudlicek As editorial director of Progressive Grocer, Jim Dudlicek oversees daily operations of the magazine, spearheads its signature features, produces PG’s monthly Trend Alert newsletter on center store issues, moderates its regular webcast series, and writes and comments about a wide range of grocery issues. A food industry journalist since 2002, Jim came to PG in June 2010 after covering the dairy industry for 7½ years, during which time he served as chief editor of Dairy Field and Dairy Foods magazines. A graduate of Marquette University, Jim is fascinated by how truly progressive grocers inspire consumers to enjoy food, transforming the industry from mere merchants into educators that can take the most basic of all necessities and turn it into something profound and life-enhancing. Follow him at www.twitter.com/JimDudlicek
    • About Meg Major Veteran supermarket industry journalist Meg Major brings a wealth of experience to her role as Chief Content Editor of Progressive Grocer. In addition to her editorial duties, Major also spearheads the retail food industry’s premier women’s leadership recognition platform, Top Women in Grocery. Follow her on Twitter at @Meg_Major, connect with her on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/megmajor, or email her at [email protected]

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