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US Grocery Retail and Recessions: Learnings from the Past and Recommendations for the Future

What's Inside

We analyze grocery retailing during past recessions—namely, the dotcom recession (2001), the Great Recession (2008–09) and the Covid-19 recession (2020). We discuss sales growth for food at home and food away from home, as well as EBIT margins, inflation trends, food security and more.

We offer recommendations for grocery retail companies should the US economy see a reversion to a weakening trend—covering private label, social responsibility, loyalty programs, retail media and more.

This free report is produced in partnership with food industry association FMI.

Data in this report include:

  • Year-over-year change in US grocery retailers’ sales and food services and drinking place sales, 2000–2022
  • Year-over-year change in grocery retailers’ sales versus food-at-home inflation, January 2000–October 2022
  • US food retailers’ net operating margins, 2000–2021—and basis-point change during recessions
  • Year-over-year change in consumer price index (CPI), 2000–2022
  • Average inflation levels in food, 2000–2022
  • Year-end store counts and revenues of US selected major discount retailers—pre-, during and post recession periods
  • CPI vs. PPI (producer price index) in grocery, 2000–2022

Companies mentioned in this report include: Ahold Delhaize, Amazon, Dollar General, Kroger, Grocery Outlet, Nash Finch, Roundy’s, Supervalu, Walmart

Other relevant research:

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