The first set of brands I am going to look at are supermarkets and convenience stores. Although dominated in the UK by Tesco and Asda, are those the largest companies? Are they British?
So, the two giants, Asda and Tesco are indeed the largest two companies selling groceries in the UK but the next few spots are taken up by the budget retailers from Europe before the British focused supermarkets come in.
Walmart is an American family owned supermarket business and is the largest supermarket chain in the world. It also holds the distinction of being the biggest employer in the world and operates in 15 different countries but is not always successful and in Germany it had to pull out of the market after fierce competition.
Asda was bought by Walmart in 1999 and since that time has risen to become the second largest supermarket in the UK, after Tesco. Asda’s main selling point is focused on cost and is seen as a budget option.
Tesco is a British company traded on the London Stock exchange. It is the third largest retailer in the world and is the market leader in the UK. It has stores in 14 different countries which have varying degrees of success.
As well as groceries, Tesco also sells many other goods such as electronics, clothing and toys as well as offering insurance and banking.
Aldi is a German grocery store who is positioned very much in the budget end of the market. They are active in 17 different countries and have many thousands of stores.
Lidl is another German discount retailer, in a similar mold to Aldi. It is owned by the Schwartz family and has stores in 26 countries around Europe
Spar is a Dutch retailer that focuses on smaller grocery stores. It operates in 35 countries from Europe, Africa and Asia.
Sainsbury is a UK publicly listed company that is now about a quarter owned by the Qatar royal family. It has the third largest grocery market share in the UK but is not active in any other countries. It has both large supermarkets and smaller convenience stores and also has a bank and supplies energy through British Gas.
Morrisons is a UK public listed supermarket and is the 4th largest by market share. It has traditionally been based in the North of the country but is increasingly expanding southwards. Traditionally it has shunned smaller convenience stores but has now started opening some after purchasing the stores from Co-Op. It does not operate outside of the UK
The Co-op is a consumer co-operative that is run by its members. As well as retail, the group is also involved in travel and banking. The group are very big on ethical considerations and try to operate in an ethical and responsible way. They have no stores outside the UK.
Marks & Spencer
M&S is another publicly listed UK company and as well as groceries, is also a department store. It has both supermarkets and the smaller convenience store format and is particularly prevalent in stations. It tends to have more higher end products than most of the other supermarkets on this list.
M&S has a small number of stores in a diverse 41 different countries.
John Lewis partnerships, an employee owned business owns the Waitrose supermarket chain. Like M&S, Waitrose’s products tend to be rather higher quality than many of the other supermarkets. Waitrose only has stores in the UK but it does have a licencing agreement with Spinneys in Dubai.
Murgrave is an Irish food wholesaler, and is in fact the largest private company in Ireland by Turnover. It also owns convenience store brands and has stores in Ireland, UK and Spain. In the UK, the company owns Budgens and Londis.
Until recently Iceland was owned by failed Icelandic bank Baugur but has now been taken private by a consortium of businessmen. It focuses on frozen food and now has some stores outside the UK.
Nisa is a co-operative of independent retailers in the UK and owns convenience store brands Nisa and Costcutter.
Farm Foods is a UK grocery store chain that specialises in frozen food. It has a few hundred stores, all in the UK.