Apr 25, 2022 - News

The winners, losers and ones to watch in Detroit's grocery wars

People wear face masks as they leave a Meijer store in Detroit

Photo: Jeff Kowalsky/AFP via Getty Images

Kroger beat Meijer for most popular Southeast Michigan grocery store.

Driving the news: The Cincinnati-based grocer with 82 stores in the region (but none in Detroit) had nearly a third of local market share in 2021, trumping Meijer's 40 locations, according to data compiled by sales-tracking firm Chain Store Guide.

  • The list uses data from six counties: Wayne, Macomb, Oakland, Saint Clair, Livingston and Lapeer.

Why it matters: The grocery market is extremely competitive. Plus, grocery trends are shifting as more people dined in during the pandemic and sought contactless options like curbside pick-up and app ordering.

Top grocers in Detroit-area, by 2021 market share
Data: Chain Store Guides, LLC; Table: Thomas Oide/Axios

Between the lines: Costco and Sam’s Club have a formidable presence despite operating just nine stores each in the area.

  • Dollar Tree and Family Dollar have a whopping 258 locations in Southeast Michigan, but had far lower sales: $233 million last year, compared with Kroger’s $3.7 billion.

Worth noting: This data would be vastly different, of course, if we looked at just Detroit. There's been discussion over the years as to whether Detroit, or parts of Detroit, are a food desert, as Detroit Metro Times noted.

  • Detroit recently got its third Meijer location — a small-format store called Rivertown Market on Jefferson — but, in general, big grocers have failed to establish meaningful presences here.
  • There's dozens of independent grocers, but that doesn’t fill the need for sustainable healthy food options. Nearly 40% of Detroit households are food insecure, according to a 2019 Detroit Food Policy Council food metrics report.
  • $500 million in Detroit grocery retail revenue is lost per year because people shop outside the city, the report says, citing a 2018 study by the Detroit Economic Growth Corp on neighborhood retail opportunity.

👀 What to watch: Amazon Fresh is set to expand to metro Detroit with up to 10 locations, as Crain’s Detroit Business real estate reporter Kirk Pinho has been following.

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