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July 7, 2020

Fauquier grocery sales rise 7.5 percent to $164 million

From April 1, 2019, through March 31, 2020, the Warrenton Walmart averaged $92,622 a day in grocery sales, according to Food World’s market study.
There’s never been a year like this one as retailers adapted to new ways of servicing their customers, protecting their associates and pushing hard to keep supply chains functional
— Food World Publisher Jeff Metzger
Walmart again leads Fauquier County grocery sales, according to the latest industry report.

The “big-box” retailer’s Warrenton store totaled $33.9 million in grocery sales for the 12 months that ended March 31, Food World magazine reported. Walmart’s grocery sales here rose about $800,000 year-over-year, according to the market study.

Walmart has led Fauquier in grocery market share five consecutive years. Giant Food had topped the local market for decades, until 2015-16, two years after the local Walmart expanded to a “Supercenter” with a full grocery department.

Overall, Fauquier grocery sales rose 7.5 percent from the previous year to $164.2 million, according to Columbia, Md.-based Food World, which has conducted the annual market study since 1978. The research covers 89 counties in the Mid-Atlantic region.

Part of the $11.4-million increase in spending for groceries here resulted from the sudden spike in sales after schools and restaurants closed in mid-March because of the coronavirus pandemic. Food World reported dramatic sales increases everywhere as panic buying took place.

From April 2019 through February 2020, same-store sales typically rose 0.5 to 1.5 percent, partially because of inflation, according to the trade publication.

“Many retailers said that for a two-week period in mid-March, their sales had more than doubled,” Food World said.

“There’s never been a year like this one as retailers adapted to new ways of servicing their customers, protecting their associates and pushing hard to keep supply chains functional,” Publisher Jeff Metzger wrote.

In Fauquier, Giant Food’s Warrenton store posted the greatest sales gain, up $980,000 from a year earlier.

Food Lion and Harris Teeter also showed slight declines in sales, according to the most recent Food World survey. Sales at the Safeway in Warrenton, however, declined $760,000, the publication reported.

Convenience stores and pharmacies continued to eat away at grocery stores’ market shares here, according to the survey. Sheetz, which opened a third store in Bealeton, doubled its total sales in Fauquier. Walgreens, which converted the former Rite Aid in Bealeton, also rang up more than $10 million in Fauquier “grocery” sales.

Food World bases market share on sales of “grocery-related items” at any retailer that sells groceries.

Those who leave or come to Fauquier for work also affect grocery sales. Thousands of Fauquier residents, for example, shop at the Wegmans near Gainesville, which rang up $95 million in annual sales, and clubs such as Costco, BJ’s and Sam’s outside the county.

The most recent report on the Fauquier market:

1 — Walmart, 1 store, $33.9 million in sales, 20.38 percent market share

2 — Giant, 1 store, $29.47 million, 17.72 percent

3 — Food Lion, 3 stores, $20.9 million, 12.57 percent

4 — Harris Teeter, 1 store, $17.1 million, 10.28 percent

5 — Safeway, 1 store, $15.16 million, 9.12 percent

6 — Sheetz, 3 stores, $12.6 million, 7.58 percent

7 — Walgreens, 2 stores, $10.1 million, 6.07 percent

8 — 7-Eleven, 6 stores, $8.9 million, 5.35 percent

9 — CVS, 2 stores, $7.2 million, 4.33 percent

10 — Wawa, 1 store, $4.3 million, 2.59 percent

11 — Rite Aid, 1 store, $2.6 million, 1.56 percent

12 — Circle K, 1 store, $2 million, 1.2 percent

Total sales: $164.23 million
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