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    Wal-Mart Said Eating Chicago Grocers' Lunch

    Two long-time Chicago grocery icons are reportedly losing market share to the world's largest retailer as consumer look for more bargains.

    The slumping economy is helping Wal-Mart in a bid to overtake Jewel and Dominick's for dominance of the $12 billion Chicago area grocery market, according to a report in Crain's Chicago Business.

    Wal-Mart's share of the Chicago market nearly doubled over the past year with gains coming at the expense of well-known Chicago grocers Jewel-Osco and Dominick's, both of which are losing market share, the local business magazine reported.

    With $11.9 billion in grocery sales last year, the Chicago area is critical to all three companies. Wal-Mart has 16 supercenters in the suburbs, eight of them opened since Aug. 2007. Jewel, owned by Eden Prairie, Minn.-based Supervalu, has more than 180 stores in the area. Dominick's, a unit of Safeway of Pleasanton Calif., runs about 80 stores.

    During recent boom years, Jewel and Dominick's lost upscale customers to chains like Whole Food Markets. Now with the economy headed down, the chains face an even stronger threat from Wal-Mart.

    Crain's compared the prices of three grocery staples at Wal-Mart, Jewel, and Dominick's, and claimed Wal-Mart had the lowest prices.

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