LONDON -- European companies on the continent dominate the list of the world's Top 20 food retailers, with Japan, the United States and the United Kingdom trailing behind.
ns through Switzerland, Germany and the Benelux countries.
The list was compiled by Paris-based CIES: The Food Business Forum for SN.
According to the London-based consulting company Datamonitor, Metro has been the world's biggest food retailer for two years running.
Germany and France house most of the leading food retailers in Europe as a result of the size of their individual markets, and the moves by some of those companies, such as Aldi and Tengelmann, to push into nearby markets in both Western and Eastern Europe. Meanwhile, French companies, such as Carrefour and Intermarche, are expanding outside their domestic market into such areas as the Far East.
Notable is the lack of British food retailers among the Top 10, with J. Sainsbury occupying the 12th slot and its rival Tesco the 15th. This results from the relatively cautious approach both of these companies have taken toward overseas expansion, with Sainsbury slowly expanding its Shaw's Supermarkets chain in the United States and Tesco concentrating on Eastern Europe and France. Analysts speculate, however, that the disappointing performance of Tesco's Catteau chain there might result in its sale as Tesco instead concentrates on its impressive growth in the United Kingdom and the developing markets in Eastern Europe.
Meanwhile, only one American company -- Kroger Co. -- is in the Top 10. While the U.S. market is large, analysts say, almost all food retailers there are regional operators. Only Wal-Mart Supercenters is rolling out nationwide. The regional focus of American food retailers generally makes them smaller than their European counterparts, which adopt a more global attitude.
TOP 20 WORLDWIDE FOOD RETAILERS
Company Country in US billions Top Executive
1.Metro Group (b) Switzerland 52.4 Erwin Conradi
2.Tengelmann (b) Germany 33.7 Karl-Erivan Haub
3.Aldi (b) Germany 32.0 Theo Albrecht
4.Spar International Netherlands 30.1 Gordon Campbell
5.Carrefour France 29.6 Daniel Bernard
6.Edeka/AVA (b) Germany 27.1 Kurt Lindemann
7.Leclerc (a) France 26.2 Edouard Leclerc
8.Intermarche (a) France 25.9 Pierre Gourgeon
9.Kroger Co. (a) U.S. 25.2 Joseph Pichler
10.Ito-Yokoda Japan 24.9 Toshimi Suzuki
11.Auchan France 23.7 Gerard Mulliez
12.J. Sainsbury U.K. 22.9 David Sainsbury
13.Rewe (b) Germany 22.8 Hans Reischl
14.Safeway-Vons (a) U.S. 22.6 Steven Burd
15.Tesco U.K. 22.5 Lord MacLaurin
16.Ahold Netherlands 20.9 Cees van der Hoeven
17.Daiei (a) Japan 20.7 Isao Nakauchi
18.Promodes France 19.8 Paul-Louis Halley
19.American Stores Co. U.S. 18.7 Victor Lund
20.Wal-Mart Supercenters (a) U.S. 17.5 Nick White
NOTES *Figures for Metro and Aldi are for 1995 (a) indicates data is from annual reports or press reports. (b) indicates data is from M+M Eurodata. Figures compiled by CIES: The Food Business Forum, based in Paris, for SN.