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Perhaps the worst-held secret around The Journal of Commerce’s ranking of Top
100 Importers is who will finish No. 1. That’s because Wal-Mart isn’t only the
largest U.S. retailer and importer, but the world’s largest. How dominant is it? Its
720,000 TEUs in containerized imports last year were 70 percent more than the
second-largest importer and accounted for 13 percent of the nearly 6 million TEUs
the Top 100 imported last year.
The nation’s second-largest merchandise retailer and one of three in the Top 10
containerized importers, Minneapolis-based Target has some 1,800 stores in the
U.S. and is expanding aggressively in Canada, with plans to open 124 there this
year. The discount retailer also has 37 distribution centers and is building a
450,000-square-foot DC near Columbus, Ohio, for produce, refrigerated, frozen
and packaged foods that will serve 10 states when it opens next year.
The nation’s largest home improvement retailer, Home Depot operates nearly
2,000 U.S. stores and another 280 overseas. It’s not nearly as popular in China,
however, where it closed all seven of its big-box stores last year, six years after it
broke into the country. The increasingly strong housing recovery in the U.S. bodes
well for a strong 2013 for Home Depot and other home improvement retailers,
including our fifth-ranked importer.
One of two food importers to make the Top 10, Dole is one of the world’s largest
producers and marketers of fresh fruit and vegetables. It does business in more
than 90 countries and had 2012 revenue of $4.2 billion. In 2012, it sold its
packaged foods and Asia fresh-foods business to Itochu Japan, whose North
American division was the 47th-ranked U.S. containerized importer last year.
Second only to Home Depot among home improvement retailer, Mooresville, N.C.-
based Lowe’s operates more than 1,750 stores in the U.S., about 40 in Canada
and six in Mexico. It plans to expand north and south of the U.S. border over the
next several years and centralize its fulfillment operations in a bid to cut
transportation costs and speed e-commerce delivery. Its e-commerce arm,
Lowes.com, can reach 90 percent of the nation’s markets within a day through
more than 50 U.S. fulfillment centers.
The Chicago-based holding company owns Sears, Roebuck and Co. and Kmart,
with more than 2,500 stores in the U.S. and Canada. It also has numerous
consumer brands, including Kenmore, Craftsman, DieHard, Lands’ End,
Kardashian Kollection and Joe Boxer. Sears sources its apparel products from
around the globe, including Bangladesh, where it is evaluating its position in light of
recent factory tragedies.
With $3.1 billion in revenue last year, Chiquita is one of the world’s largest fruit and
vegetables producers. Its products include Fresh Express salad products, but
bananas account for nearly 65 percent of annual sales. It also owns refrigerated
container carrier Great White Fleet Liner Services.
South Korean industrial group LG has major business units in chemicals,
electronics, home appliances and telecommunications. Its appliance brand is
getting a boost not only from the housing recovery, but also from retailers such as
Lowe’s, which is seeing increasing demand for South Korean products. “We’re
rolling out LG in our stores,” Lowe’s President and CEO Robert Niblock told a UBS
conference in the spring. “It’s the fastest-growing brand in appliances.”
The White Plains, N.Y.-based Heineken USA is a subsidiary of Netherlands-based
Heineken NV, which markets some 200 beers and hard ciders, including Heineken,
Amstel, and Foster’s. In May, it signed a joint venture with Myanmar’s Alliance
Brewery to brew and sell Heineken beers in that country. A sustainability program
started in 2012 has resulted in more efficient use of water and energy of its
breweries, offices and warehouses, and 93 percent of its coolers are now
Philips Electronics, a subsidiary of Netherlands-based Royal Philips Electronics, is
more than its name implies: It also has divisions in health care and lighting. A major
growth market is Africa, where the parent company in May embarked on a six-
month road show to raise awareness about how the company can enhance life on
the continent. It sells everything from televisions and DVD players to shavers,
coffee makers and LED light bulbs.
Trade Data & Intelligence from the Industry Experts
To see the rest of the
Top 100 U.S. Containerized Importers for 2012,
as well as other bonus content, go to: http://bit.ly/1fYpMeT