USA - Grocery Chains Are Growing Everywhere

Arno Froese

The American grocery store has so far been mostly immune to the ravages of online shopping and the all around apocalyptic outlook facing the nation’s retailers. But a war is coming to the staid supermarket, and that could mean more consolidation, bankruptcies, and falling prices.

An invasion is getting under way. Lidl, a German retailer known for low prices and efficient operations, is expected to start an aggressive U.S. expansion in the coming weeks that could open as many as 100 new stores across the East Coast by the summer of 2018. The company, which runs about 10,000 stores in Europe, has also set its sights on Texas, one of the most competitive grocery markets in the U.S. Analysts expect Lidl to expand to nearly $9 billion in sales by 2023.

These are tough times for the U.S. retail industry, with stores closing at a record pace so far in 2017. The grocery business has been a safe haven in recent years. Only about 1 percent of the roughly $1.5 trillion industry has moved online. That’s made supermarkets an attractive real estate tenant in an era when other shopping has moved from the mall to the living room couch. The reliability of food sales has also drawn more and more stores into the market for prepared food, snacks, and other traditional grocery items as a reliable driver of store traffic. After all, we have to eat and get more garbage bags.

All this competition has come amid an historic bout of food deflation. Grocers have engaged in a price war that has been a boon for consumers while weighing down on corporate earnings—and those trends will only get more intense once Lidl opens its doors in the U.S. The company has long battled rival German grocer Aldi in markets across Europe. Both companies have taken on entrenched grocers and eaten into market share with their low prices and no-frills stores. Aldi, which has more than 1,600 U.S. stores, has spent the past couple years preparing for Lidl’s arrival by aggressively expanding in Southern California and spending $1.6 billion to spruce up its locations.

The number of shopping trips Americans made to buy food rose rose 1 percent last year, according to Nielsen data. That may not sound like much, but it's the first annual gain in at least a decade. The shift in shopping behavior is being driven, in part, by the increasing preference for fresh food.

-www.bloomberg.com, 4 May 2017

Arno's commentary

When measuring food prices in hours worked, one finds that the cost of food has decreased quite remarkably. That is another success of globalism.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) shows the decline of food costs for one year in the graph below: 

 Find chart at: https://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/ag-and-food-statistics-charting-the-essentials/food-prices-and-spending/
 
What does the Bible predict? Many scholars saw famine as the worst enemy for humanity. Most of those scholars based their understanding on Scriptures such as Revelation 6:6: “And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.” It is our understanding that these prophecies are for the duration of humanity (6000+ years). The same is applicable with verse 4: “And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.” Earth has never experienced peace, and humanity has never stopped killing one another. Peace was taken away when Adam and Eve were cast out of paradise. Since Cain killed his brother Abel, that killing has continued to this day. The same is applicable with famine. Food has never been as easy to obtain, in such high volume and great quality, as today. Food actually has become a major killer: the diseases that arise from eating too much.

The International Food Policy Research Institute writes: “The 2016 Global Hunger Index (GHI) presents a multidimensional measure of national, regional, and global hunger, focusing on how the world can get to Zero Hunger by 2030. The developing world has made substantial progress in reducing hunger since 2000. The 2016 GHI shows that the level of hunger in developing countries as a group has fallen by 29 percent” (www.ifpri.org).

Now the question: will Revelation 6:6 be fulfilled? Our answer: it was fulfilled, it is being fulfilled, and will be fulfilled in the future.

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

Read more from this author

ContactAbout UsPrivacy and Safety