Every 5 years the United States does an Economic Census that produces
detailed trade information about different industries. The last
economic census for which there was complete data was 1997. The 2002
Economic Census data is still being released, as it takes years to
break down and publish the information on millions of companies.
As a result, the 2002 Economic Census now has published the complete
reports for all NAICS (or SIC) codes. From it and report #EC02-44I-07
we can see the trends in the full service grocery store segment and
make a good estimate for California:
U.S. Census Bureau
?2002 Economic Census Industry Series Reports -- Retail Trade? (Mar. 9, 2005)
Full service grocery stores are NAICS #44511, which specifically
excludes convenience stores and of course meat markets or specialty
1997: 69,461 stores in the U.S.
2002: 66,092, a decline of 4.85%
There is detailed information on the product lines that they sold in
the report. One item worth noting is that in 1997 the stores sold
$351 billion in goods and in 2002 they sold $394 billion, an increase
The data for California won?t be available for another month or two,
as this schedule notes:
?2002 Economic Census Geographic Series ? California?
But we?ll use the 1997 data to make an estimate of the number of
California stores ? assuming that the state lost 4.85% of its stores.
(You can check my accuracy when the report?s out by May!)
For the 1997 Economic Census, you want to go to this page, then select
your state (the state selections are at the top of the page):
California data (which can be broken down further into counties and
metropolitan areas) is here:
So, the last year for which we have solid numbers is 1997 ? and there
were 7,281 full service grocery stores doing $43.6 billion in sales.
But if we assume that California, like the rest of the U.S., lost
4.85% of those outlets by 2002, a good estimate would be that the
state had 6,928 full-service grocery stores in 2002, the last year for
which the U.S. government has reliable data.
Google search strategy:
?Economic Census? 1997
?Economic Census? 2002