Food retail: 6 charts to understand the financial health of the world’s Top 10 in 2022

Rising costs, inflation, purchasing power. After 2 years of crazy growth boosted by Covid-19, 2022 was a good one in terms of sales, but not profitability. For the 2023 edition of this exclusive study, mind Retail analysed the financial health of the world's "Top 10" food retailers since 2017, based on main financial indicators. In terms of business model, the most omnichannel retailers are approaching the online capacity ceiling, approximately between 15% and 20% of a business. Whilst profitability of Target and Walmart has dramatically slowed, the business models of Costco, Ahold Delhaize and Kroger have been more resilient. 

Through Bleuenn Fequant, Sophie Baqué, Aymeric Marolleau. Published on 24 April 2023 à 13h10 - Update on 26 February 2024 à 13h46

For a second year in a row, mind Retail compiled key numbers from annual reports of the world’s largest grocery retailers. We measured turnover, turnover growth, share of online sales, operating margin, net margin and headcount (see methodology). For Schwarz Group (Lidl, Kaufland) and Aldi, mind Retail decided not to wait for publication of annual results, all scheduled for July 2023. This barometer therefore includes the global leaders of Walmart, Costco, Kroger, Target, Ahold Delhaize, Seven & I, Carrefour, Albertsons and Aeon. The German discounters will be added later on. 

In grocery retailing, 2022 was marked for consumers by high inflation (11.4% in the U.S.A. on food products in 2022, and 11.9% in the European Union) and shortages, due to the war in Ukraine from February 2022. Hit by less purchasing power, households made trade-offs. Soaring costs have prompted a fall in discretionary spending to focus on necessity. For retailers, 2022 was a good year in terms of sales, which have been driven by inflationary trends and a petrol effect, but not for profitability. “We haven’t seen such sales growth rates for decades. 2023 may be almost as good in Europe, depending on the pace of food dis-inflation during the second half of 2023”, said Clement Genelot, VP Equity Research Retail & E-commerce at Bryan & Garnier. But this has not translated to higher margins, given a negative mix effect on gross margin, and inflationary pressures on OPEX.”

Sales growth boosted by inflation 

On average, the sales of retailers in our panel grew by 5.5% in 2022.…