One name strikes fear in the hearts of supermarket owners in New
York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, and
Massachusetts: Wegmans Food Markets. The regional grocery chain
owns almost 90 stores, but they are hardly typical. Much larger
than most supermarkets (up to 140,000 sq. ft.), each store offers
up to 70,000 products and house huge in-store cafes, cheese shops
with some 300 different varieties, sub shops, and French-style
pastry shops. The company is known for its gourmet cooking classes
and an extensive employee-training program. Founded in 1916,
Wegmans now boasts revenues of nearly $8 billion and is one of the
largest private companies in the US. The grocery chain is owned and
run by the family of founder John Wegman.
Rochester, New York-based Wegmans Food Markets operates more
than half (46) of its 88 stores in its home state. Pennsylvania is
next with about 17 stores. The rest of its stores are in New
Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, and Massachusetts.
Wegman's addition of new stores in new markets has spurred
several consecutive years of sales growth. Indeed, Wegman's sales
have jumped more than 27% since 2011, from $6.2 billion to $7.9
billion during 2015.
Wegmans has been entering new markets in recent years to boost
sales. In late 2015, the chain planned to open a new store in
Lancaster, Pennsylvania, as well as two more Wegmans stores out of
a handful of existing stores in Massachusetts in Natick and
Westwood. During 2014 it entered the Richmond, Virginia market with
two new stores and opened two more stores in Massachusetts (which
it first entered in 2011) in Cherry Hill and Burlington.
The upscale regional grocery chain, which aims to deliver a
shopping experience more akin to a European open-air market than a
traditional supermarket, has also benefited from the recovering US
economy. Key to Wegmans' success is its competitive pricing, mostly
on its popular private-label products. The retailer's aggressive
private-label strategy includes frequent product updates and
innovation. Wegmans recently introduced a line of gluten-free
private-label items, including pasta and cake mixes.
Wegmans ranked 33rd on the 2015 Supermarket News list of Top 75
Supermarkets based on sales volume. The chain is not only popular
with shoppers, but also with employees. The company has landed on
FORTUNE magazine's list of the "100 Best Companies to Work
For," in each of the past 18 years and captured the #7 spot in
2015. It was ranked #1 in 2005.