Canada’s Top 100 Retailers Ranked Pre-COVID-19

Date:

Share post:

Prior to the COVID-19 store shutdowns, a few large store-based conglomerates effectively controlled a large proportion of the current Canadian non-auto retail sales environment, according to the latest CSCA Retail 100, created by the Centre for the Study of Commercial Activity at Ryerson University.

The report says its latest data shows that this long-standing trend has continued apace as in 2018 the 10 largest conglomerates controlled 48 percent of national retail sales, increasing from 43 percent in 2014.

Given that many of the top 10 retailers had been deemed ‘essential’ as stores shut temporarily to the COVID-19 pandemic, they will likely maintain their place in terms of rankings and see even more market share.

According to the report, here are the top 10 retail conglomerates in the Canadian market and their banners:

  1. George Weston Limited, Canada (Shoppers Drug Mart, Loblaws, Real Canadian Superstore);

  2. Costco, Inc., U.S.;

  3. Empire Company Ltd., Canada (Sobeys, Safeway, IGA, Farm Boy)

  4. Walmart Stores Inc., U.S.;

  5. Metro Inc., Canada (Metro, Food Basics, Jean Coutu Pharmacy)

  6. Canadian Tire Corporation, Canada (Canadian Tire, Mark’s Work Wearhouse, SportChek)

  7. McKesson Corporation, U.S. (IDA Pharmacy, Uniprix, Rexall Drug Store)

  8. Lowe’s, U.S. (Lowe’s, Rona, Rona Home & Garden);

  9. The Home Depot Inc., U.S.; and

  10. Home Hardware Stores Ltd., Canada (Home Hardware, Home Hardware Building Centre)

PHOTO: COSTCO

“It’s a small group of very large retailers that are controlling a large part of the Canadian retail pie basically. So there’s a dominance to what they do. That’s really a key aspect of the Canadian retail marketplace,” said Tony Hernandez, Director & Eaton Chair in Retailing for the CSCA, and Professor in the School of Retail Management & Department of Real Estate Management at Ryerson’s Ted Rogers School of Management.

“You’ve got this dominance really of the big grocery and general merchandise retailers that kind of take a large proportion of retail sales in Canada. That’s one of the key trends.”

The report broke the overall sales down to the top 100 retail chains operating in Canada as ranked by total estimated annual retail sales in fiscal 2018/2019.

The report said the top 100 retail conglomerates account for close to 70 per cent of non-automotive retail sales in Canada in 2018, declining from 71.4 percent in 2014.

“From the retailer perspective, these big conglomerates can be looking at marketplaces and saying okay this is a market where we need this banner. So it gives them a lot of flexibility to operate across Canada using multiple banners to essentially meet the local needs of Canadian shoppers,” said Hernandez. “Ultimately all of these companies the sales that they create are driven by local demand. It’s the ability for these big companies to choose the banner that they can operate within a given market in order to kind of maximize the sales within that marketplace.”

The number of retail conglomerates that operate with at least $1 billion in sales has reached 31 in Canada, he said, adding that six retail conglomerates are in the $10-billion club.

“So we’ve got quite a concentrated retail market with some very big conglomerates controlling a large amount of sales and controlling a large amount of stores as well,” said Hernandez.

“It ultimately comes down to the demand from Canadian consumers. Retailers are going to go where there is a market and U.S. retailers are going to be looking to either enter in or expand in the Canadian marketplace based on how vibrant they see the Canadian marketplace - maybe even relative to their own domestic market. So I think it’s really reflective that international retailers, particularly U.S. retailers, still see Canada as a viable retail market to be operated in and expanded.”

PHOTO: FARM BOY

The report said the bulk of retail sales are in groceries and beverage stores (20.3 percent of national sales), general merchandise (17.8 percent) and health and personal care (8.4 percent). Groceries and beverage stores are dominated by Canadian headquartered chains. The general merchandise category is dominated by US headquartered operations. Health and personal care are dominated by Canadian headquartered businesses.

While the level of domination by the 10 largest chains is about the same for both 2014 and 2018, the 100 largest chains in 2014 contributed a greater share of national sales (65 percent) than those in 2018. Canadian headquartered chains contributed 6.4 percentage points less to the 2018 total than in 2014, while the contribution of chains headquartered in the US increased by 5.5 percentage points and from elsewhere in the world by 0.9 percentage points, added the report.

There’s no surprise that the online retail marketplace continues to grow. The highest shares of ‘online’ expenditure were in entertainment (30 percent) and electronics (28 percent). The lowest shares were in groceries/food/alcohol (less than five percent).

“Every retailer is grappling with the balance between online and offline. How do we meet the needs of our consumers in an efficient and profitable way? I think from a consumer side we all are increasingly getting more greedy as consumers. We want more and more and we want to pay less and less. So it’s a challenge and dynamic for retailers,” said Hernandez.

2 COMMENTS

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

More From Retail Insider

SUKOSHI MART Opens Its Largest Store Yet, Elevating the Asian Beauty and Lifestyle Shopping Experience

The Asian beauty and lifestyle retailer has been expanding across Ontario, and has entered the Ottawa market with its first store.

Toronto-Based Brasa Peruvian Kitchen Targets New York City as it Plans Canadian and US Expansion

The concept began in 2021 as a ghost kitchen, followed by physical locations. The now popular chain is planning to open about 100 locations on the continent.

Yorkdale Shopping Centre in Toronto Blows Other Canadian Malls Out of the Water in ICSC Productivity Rankings 

The centre is nearly $1,000 higher than the next shopping centre ranked in terms of sales per square foot, with a VP attributing it to the mall’s location, tenant mix and overall operations. 

Calgary Retail Leasing Market Thrives Amid High Demand and Diminishing Supply: JLL Report

Population growth and a positive outlook for the oil industry are supporting long-term prospects, according to the report.

Spanish Luxury Brand Loewe Enters Canada with 1st Standalone Store at Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre [Photos] 

The brand entered Canada through Nordstrom several years ago, and is now expanding in a big way with its first flagship storefront carrying Loewe’s entire product assortment. 

Upscale Vancouver-Based Sushi Restaurant Chain ‘Hello Nori’ Unveils Ambitious Global Expansion Plans [Interview]

The company has plans on expanding throughout Canada and into global markets with its popular hand-rolled sushi in elevated dining spaces.

Peavey Mart Spearheads Retail Revamp of Stores Across Canada while Launching Media Network 2nd Phase [Interview]

The Canadian farm and ranch retailer is focusing on updating stores across the country this year, while expanding its first-in-Canada retail media platform which includes digital radio and ads.

Innovative Direct-to-Consumer Furniture Startup CouchHaus Opens 1st Physical Retail Space in Vancouver [Interview]

The husband-wife team's modular furniture became so popular online that they are opening their own physical store, allowing customers to see the product-in person.

Canadians Look to Make Major Purchases in 2024 Despite Economic Uncertainty: Survey

Economic uncertainty isn't stopping Canadians from planning major purchases in 2024 according to a study, potentially giving retail a boost depending on the demographic.

Canada’s Agri-Food Sector Lacks Vision as Consumers Struggle with Grocery Prices [Op-Ed]

Canada's lack of cohesive vision and strategy for its agri-food sector, despite significant budget allocations, is stark contrast to the decisive approach evident in U.S. agricultural policy says Sylvain Charlebois.

Flexible Work Company ‘LAUFT’ Discusses Expansion Plans and New Government Collaboration [Interview]

Founder Graham Wong discusses the Canadian company's plans for new locations, enhanced spaces for events and content creation, and a future in places such as airports and hotels.

Ice Bath Spa Concept ‘Othership’ Opens 2nd Toronto Location with Expansion Plans for Major Markets in Canada and NYC [Interview]

The company's co-founder discusses the concept that began in his back yard in 2019, which is now a big business with a new Yorkville location and plans for Manhattan and other urban centres.

Anatomy of a Leader: Peter Mammas, President and CEO, Foodtastic

The man behind the food empire got started in Montreal where he wanted to be a pilot, then an architect. He eventually worked his way up in the world of foodservice, where he found his passion.

Nostalgia vs Reality: Exclusive Poll Shows Canadians Warm to Zellers’ Return but Hesitate to Shop One Year After Relaunch

Zellers relaunched a year ago as shop-in-stores at Hudson's Bay, and a poll done for Retail Insider shows that Canadians' think the current offerings fall short.

Cracking the Newcomer Code: Study Urges Canadian Retailers to Adapt for Inclusivity as Immigrants Reshape Retail Trends [Feature]

Making newcomers feel at home could mean increased sales for retailers. Ian Large of Leger says retailers should collaborate with communities as Canada's population changes.

Italian-Themed QSR Chain Fazoli’s Announces Major Expansion into Canada with 25 Locations Planned [Interview]

The chain could open even more locations according to its development officer, who discusses Fazoli's success being rooted in quality ingredients and speedy service.

Toronto-Based Fashion Designer Adam X Discusses Inspiration, Retail and Designing for the Future [Video Interview]

Craig and Adam X discuss the the founding and ethos of Adam X Atelier, a Toronto-based haute couture fashion brand which is rare to find in Canada.

Swatch Opens Flagship Store in Downtown Vancouver as it Expands Across Canada [Photos]

It's the 12th store in Canada for the popular Swiss watch brand, which almost doubled its store count in this country in less than a year.

Economic Strains Dampen Montréal’s Retail Growth, But Luxury and Transit Projects Could Spark Revival: JLL Report

Montreal retail has struggled recently and leasing activity has been particularly slow downtown, while a new luxury mall and a growing transit network could help things this year.

IKEA Canada Launches ‘Second-Hand Tax’ Initiative in Protest of Government Policies [Interview]

Ikea dropped the tax on its 'as-is' marketplace, stating that second-hand goods should not be subject to the same taxes as new products.

RECENT RETAIL INSIDER VIDEOS

Advertisment

Subscribe to the Newsletter

Subscribe

* indicates required

RECENT articles

SUKOSHI MART Opens Its Largest Store Yet, Elevating the Asian Beauty and Lifestyle Shopping Experience

The Asian beauty and lifestyle retailer has been expanding across Ontario, and has entered the Ottawa market with its first store.

Toronto-Based Brasa Peruvian Kitchen Targets New York City as it Plans Canadian and US Expansion

The concept began in 2021 as a ghost kitchen, followed by physical locations. The now popular chain is planning to open about 100 locations on the continent.

Yorkdale Shopping Centre in Toronto Blows Other Canadian Malls Out of the Water in ICSC Productivity Rankings 

The centre is nearly $1,000 higher than the next shopping centre ranked in terms of sales per square foot, with a VP attributing it to the mall’s location, tenant mix and overall operations. 

Calgary Retail Leasing Market Thrives Amid High Demand and Diminishing Supply: JLL Report

Population growth and a positive outlook for the oil industry are supporting long-term prospects, according to the report.

Spanish Luxury Brand Loewe Enters Canada with 1st Standalone Store at Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre [Photos] 

The brand entered Canada through Nordstrom several years ago, and is now expanding in a big way with its first flagship storefront carrying Loewe’s entire product assortment. 

Upscale Vancouver-Based Sushi Restaurant Chain ‘Hello Nori’ Unveils Ambitious Global Expansion Plans [Interview]

The company has plans on expanding throughout Canada and into global markets with its popular hand-rolled sushi in elevated dining spaces.

Peavey Mart Spearheads Retail Revamp of Stores Across Canada while Launching Media Network 2nd Phase [Interview]

The Canadian farm and ranch retailer is focusing on updating stores across the country this year, while expanding its first-in-Canada retail media platform which includes digital radio and ads.

Innovative Direct-to-Consumer Furniture Startup CouchHaus Opens 1st Physical Retail Space in Vancouver [Interview]

The husband-wife team's modular furniture became so popular online that they are opening their own physical store, allowing customers to see the product-in person.

Canadians Look to Make Major Purchases in 2024 Despite Economic Uncertainty: Survey

Economic uncertainty isn't stopping Canadians from planning major purchases in 2024 according to a study, potentially giving retail a boost depending on the demographic.

Canada’s Agri-Food Sector Lacks Vision as Consumers Struggle with Grocery Prices [Op-Ed]

Canada's lack of cohesive vision and strategy for its agri-food sector, despite significant budget allocations, is stark contrast to the decisive approach evident in U.S. agricultural policy says Sylvain Charlebois.

Flexible Work Company ‘LAUFT’ Discusses Expansion Plans and New Government Collaboration [Interview]

Founder Graham Wong discusses the Canadian company's plans for new locations, enhanced spaces for events and content creation, and a future in places such as airports and hotels.

Ice Bath Spa Concept ‘Othership’ Opens 2nd Toronto Location with Expansion Plans for Major Markets in Canada and NYC [Interview]

The company's co-founder discusses the concept that began in his back yard in 2019, which is now a big business with a new Yorkville location and plans for Manhattan and other urban centres.

Anatomy of a Leader: Peter Mammas, President and CEO, Foodtastic

The man behind the food empire got started in Montreal where he wanted to be a pilot, then an architect. He eventually worked his way up in the world of foodservice, where he found his passion.

Nostalgia vs Reality: Exclusive Poll Shows Canadians Warm to Zellers’ Return but Hesitate to Shop One Year After Relaunch

Zellers relaunched a year ago as shop-in-stores at Hudson's Bay, and a poll done for Retail Insider shows that Canadians' think the current offerings fall short.

Cracking the Newcomer Code: Study Urges Canadian Retailers to Adapt for Inclusivity as Immigrants Reshape Retail Trends [Feature]

Making newcomers feel at home could mean increased sales for retailers. Ian Large of Leger says retailers should collaborate with communities as Canada's population changes.

Italian-Themed QSR Chain Fazoli’s Announces Major Expansion into Canada with 25 Locations Planned [Interview]

The chain could open even more locations according to its development officer, who discusses Fazoli's success being rooted in quality ingredients and speedy service.

Toronto-Based Fashion Designer Adam X Discusses Inspiration, Retail and Designing for the Future [Video Interview]

Craig and Adam X discuss the the founding and ethos of Adam X Atelier, a Toronto-based haute couture fashion brand which is rare to find in Canada.

Swatch Opens Flagship Store in Downtown Vancouver as it Expands Across Canada [Photos]

It's the 12th store in Canada for the popular Swiss watch brand, which almost doubled its store count in this country in less than a year.

Economic Strains Dampen Montréal’s Retail Growth, But Luxury and Transit Projects Could Spark Revival: JLL Report

Montreal retail has struggled recently and leasing activity has been particularly slow downtown, while a new luxury mall and a growing transit network could help things this year.

IKEA Canada Launches ‘Second-Hand Tax’ Initiative in Protest of Government Policies [Interview]

Ikea dropped the tax on its 'as-is' marketplace, stating that second-hand goods should not be subject to the same taxes as new products.