Looking at a global comparison of the World's Largest Discount Food and Non-Food Store Chains FY2018, it appears that discount retailing is dominated by European retailers, as well as chains in the United States.
While many retailers who made the FY2017 list moved up or down in rankings by a few spaces, there were a few larger instances of discount stores changing their place in global rankings. Discount retailers in Brazil, and Chile lost ground and no longer appear in the top 250. Discount retailers in South Korea and the United Kingdom expanded their global presence and moved into the top 250.
Defining Discount Retailers
Discount retailers are defined by their pricing model, which offers prices that are substantially lower than those of their competitors and generally well below manufacturer's suggested retail prices.
The following list shows a comparison of the world's largest discount store chains or chains active in discount retail, according to annual revenue figures compiled based on financial results in 2017, published in the Deloitte 2019 Global Powers of Retailing report.
Comparisons can be made between different discount chains in different countries. The 2018 and 2010 Largest Discount Chains rankings, if available, are also included to show the upward or downward progress each largest discount retail chain has made,
The list that follows is arranged according to the 2019 revenue rankings, with the largest discount retail chain listed first. The revenue results behind these 2019 ranking numbers were generated in FY 2018.
Discount Retail Chains Ranked Among the 250 Largest Retailers In the World
The History of Discount Retail
Looking at the history of discount retailing in the U.S., the retailing shift to a discount pricing model took hold in full force in the U.S. during the Baby Boom era.
1879 - Frank Woolworth opened a discount variety store in Lancaster, Pennsylvania in June 1879. His initial $300 investment was borrowed from a friend.
1900s - The first Stein Mart store was opened by Russian immigrant Sam Stein. The store sold general merchandise until 1932. There was just one Stein Mart store until 1977 when the store was duplicated in other locations, and the chain expanded rapidly.
1930 - Charles C. Loehmann opened a women's store selling manufacturer overruns of high-quality fashions in the Bronx of New York. By 1981 he had sales of 160 million with stores in 21 states.
1946 - Polish immigrant Max Kohl opened Kohl's Food Stores in Milwaukee, WI, which grew to be a 50-store chain before it was purchased by the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company. It wasn't until 1962 that Max Kohl opened the first Kohls discount department store.
1955 - J. L. Turner and Son Wholesale stores were renamed Dollar General. At that time the discount chain sold only merchandise that cost only $1.00 or less.
1961 - Theo and Karl Albrecht started experimenting with US food discount concepts in Germany, later this concepts became better known as Aldi.