According to the survey, the 10 largest chains will capture 82.9 percent of food sales this year in a 15-county area that stretches from Philadelphia's western suburbs through South Jersey and northern Delaware. Last year, the 10 leaders garnered a 80.9 percent market share.
Although it remains far behind Acme, Super Fresh markets takes second place with $683.5 million in sales at 58 stores anticipated this year. The chain is a division of the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co.
Bob Ingram, editor of Food Trade News, said yesterday, "Super Fresh is opening more stores. They are certainly among the most aggressive in the area. But Acme is so far ahead, they are, for all extent and purposes, uncatchable."
Pathmark, operated by Supermarkets General Corp., ranked third in the survey, with 29 stores estimated to bring in $675.3 million this year.
Two top-10 chains are expected to see sales decline this year: Wetterau Inc., which is closing several of its IGA stores, and S.H.S. Enterprises, which operates as Pickwell.
The total number of supermarkets in the 15-county area also dropped from 473 last year to 460 this year.