Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods, whose stock value has soared more than 700% in the last three years, reported sales and profit gains throughout 2011 as its customers appeared unfazed by the economic downturn.
Jacksonville, Fla.-based Winn-Dixie, on the other hand, enjoyed a surge when Bi-Lo offered a $9.50-per-share buyout in mid-December, driving the share price up to near that level.
Other double-digit gainers among U.S. supermarket stocks in 2011 included Los Angles-based Arden Group, parent of the upscale Gelson's chain, up a little over 10%; Cincinnati-based Kroger Co., up about 10%; and Matthews, N.C.-based Ruddick Corp., up about 16%. Grand Rapids, Mich.-based retailer and wholesaler Spartan Stores was up nearly 10% for the year as of late Friday.
Minneapolis-based Supervalu fell more than 16% for the year, and Safeway, Pleasanton, Calif., was off about 6%, as both companies sought to balance sales growth and profitability amid inflation and weak consumer spending.
Overall, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up about 6%, while the S&P 500 was flat for the year.