retail news in context, analysis with attitude

USA Today has a story that identifies the nation's favorite supermarket chains, state-by-state, saying that its rankings are "based on data suggesting chain popularity compiled from Yelp and Google Trends … From Yelp, we determined the five supermarket chains with the most reviews in each state and compared their Google search frequency for a one-week period using Google Trends. The chain with the highest search frequency in each state was considered to be the most popular, and by extension the best according to grocery customers."

Here they are, broken out, for our purposes, by company:

• Albertsons: Idaho, Montana, Wyoming

• BJ's Wholesale Club: Delaware

• Costco: Hawaii

• Food Lion (Ahold Delhaize): North Carolina

• Fred Meyer (Kroger): Alaska, Oregon, Washington

• Giant Food (Ahold Delhaize): Maryland

• Hannaford (Ahold Delhaize): Maine, New Hampshire

• Harris Teeter (Kroger): Virginia

• H-E-B: Texas

• Hornbacher's: North Dakota

• Hy-Vee: Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota

• Jewel-Osco (Albertsons): Illinois

• Kroger: Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee, West Virginia

• King Soopers (Kroger): Colorado

• Market Basket: Massachusetts

• Meijer: Michigan

• Publix: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina

• Rouse's: Louisiana

• Sam's Club: Arkansas, Oklahoma

• Schnucks: Missouri

• Shaw's (Albertsons): Vermont

• ShopRite: New Jersey, Pennsylvania

• Smith's Food & Drug (Kroger): Nevada, Utah

• Sprouts: Arizona, New Mexico

• Stop & Shop (Ahold Delhaize): Connecticut

• Trader Joe's: California, New York

• Whole Foods: Rhode Island

• Woodman's: Wisconsin
KC's View:
This is an algorithm-based analysis, quantitative rather than qualitative, which accounts for the fact that companies like Wegmans are not listed here. Some of these companies are not a surprise - Publix's dominance in four southern states, for example, or Kroger's in a total of a dozen states or H-E-B's in Texas or Hy-Vee's in Iowa.

I must admit that I'm a little surprised by Trader Joe's New York presence … I'm impressed that there are two states where Sprouts gets the highest ranking … and I'm a little skeptical that there are four states where membership warehouse clubs are ranked so high.

I also look at this list and see a bunch of places where I'd guess that, if faced with new and tough competition, the dominant supermarket companies would lose significant ground. I hope they're not feeling complacent.