Grocery Stocks Report International For 2013: Supervalu, National Grocers, Kroger, Safeway, Carrefour, Metro AG, Sobeys Up

2013 turned out to be a great year for grocery stocks.

USA supermarkets         European Supermarkets          Canadian supermarkets

Top performers in the USA

NYSE|SVU - Supervalu stock is up 175% on the year to just under $7 a share ($1.7b market cap).  Though the company is a lot smaller than it was two years ago due to the divestment of Albertsons, Acme, Shaw's and Jewel-Osco, the split left it with a profitable wholesale business (Save A Lot).

NYSE|NGVC - National Grocers by Vitamin Cottage up 140% on the year to $43 a share ($1b market cap).  This chain of natural food stores grew rapidly thanks to same store sales growth in the teens.  Chicago is key market for the company (Mariano's Fresh Market).

NYSE|KR - The Kroger Company gained 52% on the year reaching $40 a share ($20b market cap).  Though Kroger posted strong sales gains it fell behind Costco in revenue terms.

NYSE|SWY - Safeway stock jumped 85% to $32.  However, it did shed some of its assets and that caused revenue to stagnate.  It unlocked about $6 billion in shareholder value when it sold Safeway Canada to Sobeys for $5.8 billion.

Top grocery performers in Europe

EPA|CA - Carrefour stock climbed 47% to $28.  Over the last year and a half Carrefour exited five markets (Singapore, Turkey, Greece, Colombia, Malaysia) - more than $10 billion was raised from this .. the company used the money to pay down debt and speed expansion efforts in key growth regions (China, Brazil, Latin America).  On December 16, 2013 Carrefour led a group of investors buying 127 shopping malls in Europe for $2.75 billion.

NASDAQ|MTTRY - Metro AG stock gained 52% in 2013.  Company growth reliant on Chinese market (12 new stores in 2012) - set up shop in China in 1996.. today it is China's fifth leading grocer.

Top grocery performers in Canada

TSX|EMP.A - Empire Company Limited better known as Sobeys - This stock gained 24% on the year to finish at just under $73.  Market cap now $9.2b twice what it was months ago thanks to the $6b takeover of Safeway Canada.

TSX|L - Loblaw Companies Limited stock gained 7% on the year to close at $44.  Market cap now at $12.4 billion thanks in part to its takeover of Shoppers Drug Mart.  Loblaws also controls the $1 billion reit Choice Properties (TSX|CHP.UN).

TSX|MRU - Metro Inc stock gained only 3% -> $65 (market capitalization $6 billion).  Metro Inc sells well over $11 billion worth of food each year.  Earnings up in 2014 however all of the growth was attributed to the sale of its 11% interest in Couche-Tard.  It employs 65,000 people, and operates 250 drugstores under the banners Brunet, Drug Basics, The Pharmacy.

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