Independent Grocery Stores in the Changing Landscape of the U.S. Food Retail Industry

Independent grocery stores, or grocery stores whose owners operate fewer than four outlets, generated 11 percent of all U.S. grocery sales in 2015. These stores play an important role in their local communities, helping to ensure food access for residents, particularly in low-income and rural areas. This study uses data from Nielsen’s TDLinx to examine the current (2015) performance of independent grocery stores and changes in the performance of these establishments over the last decade, a period marked by the Great Recession and large changes to the food retail industry. In 2015, independent grocery stores generated $70 billion in sales and employed over 330,000 full-time equivalent employees. In 44 percent of U.S. counties, at least half of the food retailers were independent grocery stores, but their share of total sales was low. From 2005 to 2015, the number of total grocery stores (chain and independent) in the United States increased. However, at the onset of the recession, the number of independent grocery stores stagnated, causing the share of these grocery stores to decline through 2015.

Issue Date:
Nov 22 2017
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Series Statement:
Economic Research Report Number 240

 Record created 2017-11-28, last modified 2018-01-23

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