Grocery Retailers: Rising Food Prices Do Not Equal Higher Revenues

Includes: ADRNY, SVU, SWY
by: Geezeo

Spending at grocery retailers has indeed risen during this period of economic downturn, however, which firms are seeing these higher returns? MSSI data concerning grocery chains Safeway (NYSE: SWY), the Delhaize Group (NYSE: DEG) and SuperValu (NYSE: SVU) show that these gains aren’t necessarily across the board.

February statistics show that Geezeo users have actually dropped off their monthly spending by 4.90% at Safeway and 6.29% at SuperValu, whereas stores under the Delhaize banner have seen gains of 8.24% over this same period.

Perhaps these two firms, Safeway and SuperValu are just having a bad couple of months. The average monthly spending at the latter has actually increased overall from January 2008 by 2.90%, but its year-on-year numbers suggest that that rising food costs have not translated to higher revenues so far in 2009, with average spending at $112.02 in February ’09 compared to $119.51 last year.

All three measures of spending that the MSSI takes into account show that Safeway stores are seeing less spending by Geezeo customers. Not only has the last three months seen overall declines of 5%, but also spending has dropped 6.85% from January ’08 and almost 6% year-on-year.

The Delhaize Group seems to be beating its competitors across the board. MSSI statistics show a 16.06% overall increase in average monthly spending from January 2008 and year-on-year, this past February observed an 8% jump compared to 2008.

All three of these retailers are observing average trips costing their customers between $36 and $40, so the key difference appears to be just getting the customer through the door more. This is getting harder with firms like Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) and Target (NYSE: TGT) offering better one-stop shopping options.

This data was compiled by the Geezeo Main Street Spending Index (MSSI).