Giant dominates Baltimore area supermarkets


Giant Food Inc. is still the dominant supermarket in the Baltimore area, according to a market study released yesterday, despite the Landover-based chain's relatively marginal gains in sales and market share over the last 12 months.

The annual study done by Columbia-based Food World magazine showed Giant has about 29 percent of the Baltimore market with $946.2 million in sales. The chain's closest competitor in the area is Super Fresh with 7.3 percent of the market and $237.2 million in sales.

Most of the top 10 chains in the Baltimore area posted only small gains or decreases in market share over the past year compared with the year before it. The market study covers from May 1, 1990, to April 30, 1991.

The one notable exception was the $10 million sales loss by independent grocer Santoni's, which ran into stiff competition from other supermarkets in Harford County during the year, according to Jeffrey Metzger, Food World publisher.

"Sales were pretty flat for everyone last year because of the recession," Mr. Metzger said. Also because of economic

uncertainty, "no players bought anyone and no players sold off anything," he said.

However, for next year's study the tide may change a little bit as far as acquisitions go.

Landover-based Dart Group Corp. said recently that Shoppers Food Warehouse, of which Dart Group owns about 50 percent, has entered into an agreement with Super Rite Foods Inc. to acquire seven Basics supermarkets in the Washington area.

"That may mean things are picking up a bit," Mr. Metzger said.

But for now, Mr. Metzger said, the study shows things are a bit slow.

"People are cross-shopping -- going to the Price Clubs and Pace Clubs to find the best deals," Mr. Metzger said.

But for now, he said, the study shows the grocery industry is a bit slow.

Based on its research, Food World also compiled a top-10 list of individual stores in the that had the highest annual sales in

Baltimore-Washington area.

Giant filled all of the spots except for the No. 3 position, which went to the Safeway store in Crossroads, Va.

Two stores in the Baltimore area placed seven and eight on the list: the Giant on Bay Ridge Road in Annapolis, with annual sales of $39 million,was No. 7, and the Giant on Baltimore National Pike in Catonsville, with sales of $38.9 million, was No 8.

Top grocery store chains

Top 10 grocery store chains in metropolitan Baltimore market, including Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford, Howard and Queen Anne's counties, and Baltimore.

Rank.. Company

1. Giant Food

2. Super Fresh/A&P;

3. Basics

4. Safeway

5. Farm Fresh (Md.)

6. Mars

7. Valu Food

8. Weis Markets

9. Santoni's

10. Shoppers Food Warehouse

SOURCE: Food World,June 1991

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