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by Michael Sansolo

One of the reasons Walmart draws so much attention is simply that the company is so large that it’s always in the spotlight. A creative article in “The Food Institute Report” of April 16th compared the size of Walmart with A & P, once the industry’s goliath, at its peak. The comparison is enlightening.

FI looked at Walmart’s recent SEC filing showing the retailer generating nearly $180 billion or 55% of its sales in just grocery products. The Institute explained that amount equals 14% of spending on food - both at and away from home. To give scope to that dominance, the Institute found in 1950 A & P generated $1 billion from almost as many stores as Walmart has today, or 6% of food expenditures that year. Adjusting for inflation, the $1 billion would be nearly $9 billion today and remember that the US population more than doubled over those 62 years.

Walmart’s size means that everything the company does matters. To paraphrase Spider-Man, with great size comes great scrutiny.

(The Food Institute is a small trade association that since 1928 has been gathering statistics about the industry in a non-partisan manner. For transparency: I serve on its Board of Directors.)
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