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WATFORD, England -- International food and grocery expert IGD yesterday released its 'Ten to Watch' list of outstanding food retailers the world over, and the ranking included two U.S. food retailers, Whole Foods and Wegmans.
Perhaps the most unexpected inclusion on the list was No. 4, eBay, which, although not a traditional grocery retailer, has more than 1 billion registered members globally and is having a huge impact on shopping patterns. The other retailers on the list include: Hong Kong's AS Watson, the world's largest health and beauty retailer, at No. 1; Perekriostok, a main Russian retailer with rapid expansion plans and goal of being a 'retailer for everyone', at No. 6; and Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods Market, the natural and organic specialist, at No. 9.
"The focus of the 2006 'Ten to Watch' series is on differentiation, rather than price," said Jonathan Gunz, IGD senior business analyst and author of the report, in a statement. "A high level of customer service and a unique corporate culture or business ethos make a big difference for many retailers and can lead to their inclusion in our list.
"[No. 8] Wegmans in the U.S., for example, has a very strong fresh food offer, but also provides excitement to shopping, with in-store cooking demonstrations and enthusiastic, highly motivated staff."
Continued Gunz: "[No. 5] Pantaloon is India's most successful multiformat retailer, and provides another example of flair and innovation with 'live kitchens' in its food bazaars, where shoppers can have their food prepared or cooked for them."
The rest of the list includes Central Retail Corp of Thailand (No. 2), Couche-Tard of Canada (No. 3), Tchibo of Germany (No. 7), and Wu Mart of China (No. 10).
According to Gunz, "Both retailers and suppliers can learn from IGD's 'Ten to Watch' series and consider new ways of retailing, or different channels for sales growth outside the global giants."