2018 - Worlds Largest Discount Store Chains by Revenue

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Looking at a global comparison of the World's Largest Discount Store Chains in 2018, it appears that discount retailing is dominated by European retailers in Germany, Denmark, and Portugal. But taking a closer look, it's obvious that there are some big names in discount retailing , notably Walmart, missing from the World's Largest Discounters list.

Where Is Walmart?

The reason Walmart and some other globally familiar discount retail brands didn’t make the list is that while they sell discounted merchandise, they are primarily classified another way. Walmart, for example, falls under a classification known as a hypermarket. And while most of the world's largest hypermarkets are also discount stores, the largest retail chains strictly classified as "discount" are not hypermarkets.

Defining Discount Retailers

Discount retailers, for the purpose of this world's largest report, are defined only by their pricing model, which offers substantially lower prices than those of their competitors, and generally well below manufacturer's suggested retail prices. This list excludes any department stores, hypermarkets and specialty chains, even though they might sell discounted merchandise within their niche.

The following list shows a comparison of the world's largest discount store chains, according to annual revenue figures compiled based on financial results in 2016, published in the Deloitte-Touche Tohmatsu 2018 Global Powers of Retailing report.

Comparisons can be made between different discount chains in different countries. The 2010 Largest Discount Chains rankings, if available, are also included to show the upward or downward progress each largest discount retail chain has made,

Hypermarkets Need Not Apply

It is worth noting that included in this list are only retail chains that are strictly classified as discount. For instance, although the world's largest retail chain, Walmart, happens to be a retail discount chain, it is considered to be a hypermarket, which is a separate retailing category, so it will not appear on this discount retailers list.

Hypermarkets, a term not commonly used in the U.S., denote stores that serve as a hybrid of a department store and a supermarket. Discount department stores like Target are also excluded.

The list that follows is arranged according to the 2018 revenue rankings, with the largest discount retail chain listed first. The revenue results behind these 2018 ranking numbers were generated in FY 2016.

Discount Retail Chains Ranked Among the 250 Largest Retailers In the World:

(sorted alphabetically by country)

Brazil

Lojas Americanas S.A.

2018 Ranking - #185

2010 Ranking - #200

Chile

Distribucion y Servicio DGS S.A.

2018 Ranking - N/A

2010 Ranking - #202

Denmark

Dansk Supermarked A/S

2018 Ranking - #114

2010 Ranking - #78

Germany

Schwarz Unternehmens Treuhand KG

2018 Ranking - #4

2010 Ranking - #5

Aldi Einkauf GmbH & Company oHG

2018 Ranking - #8

2010 Ranking - #9

Italy

Gruppo Eurospin

2018 Ranking - #187

2010 Ranking - N/A

Japan

Don Quijote Company, Ltd.

2018 Ranking - #133

2010 Ranking - #171

Norway

NorgesGruppen ASA

2018 Ranking - #93

Reitangruppen AS

2018 Ranking - #134

2010 Ranking - #88

Portugal

Jeronimo Martins, SGPS S.A.

2018 Ranking - #56

2010 Ranking - #94

Russia

X5 Retail Group N.V.

2018 Ranking - #62

2010 Ranking - #104

Spain

Distribuidora Internacional de Alimentacion S.A.

2018 Ranking - #98

Turkey

BIM (Birleski Magazalar A.A.)

2018 Ranking - #149

2010 Ranking - #241

United States

Dollar General Corp.

2018 Ranking - #46

2010 Ranking - #82

Dollar Tree Inc.

2018 Ranking - #49

Big Lots, Inc.

2018 Ranking - #183

2010 Ranking - #174

Save-A-Lot

2018 Ranking - #197

Fun Facts About Discount Retailing’s History

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' 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.

1962 - The first store with the Wal-Mart name opened In Rogers, Arkansas.

1962 - The first Dress Barn store opened in Stamford, CT by Roslyn Jaffe with a focus on selling wear-to-work designer style women's clothing at discount prices.

1964 - The first Consumer Value Store (CVS) selling discount health and beauty products were opened by Ralph Hoagland and Sid/Stanley Goldstein. The CVS name was used for the first time in 1969 when the discount retail chain was acquired by the Melville Corporation.

1965 - The Dayton company opened the first mass market discount store called Target.

1985 - The first American IKEA store opened in Philadelphia. The name comes from the owner Ingvar Kamprad ("IK") plus the initials of his hometown and village Elmtaryd and Agunnard.("EA")."

1991 - The first Designer Shoe Warehouse (DSW) store opened in Dublin, Ohio.