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A supermarket, or grocery, is a store or market that sells food, drugs, beverages and sometimes clothes and other household products that are consumed regularly. A supermarket offers a great variety of products. Often, a supermarket is part of a chain that owns or controls (sometimes by franchise) other supermarkets located in the same town or other towns, as this increases the opportunities for economies of scale.

Supermarket produce section

Supermarket beer & wine aisle

Supermarket usually offer products at low prices by reducing margins. To maintain a profit supermarkets attempt to make up for the low margins with a high volume of sales. The first supermarket was Piggly Wiggly but A&P was the most successful of the early chains. In the United States they became common in cities in the 1920s; the growth of supermarkets was matched with the growth of suburban areas after World War II. Supermarkets in the USA are now often found matched with department stores in strip malls and are generally regional rather than national. It was formerly common for supermarkets to give trading stamps.

In Britain the proliferation of out-of-town supermarkets has been blamed for the disappearance of smaller, local grocery stores and for increased dependency on the motor car (automobile). In France, where there are so-called hypermarchés, or hypermarkets, there is a similar situation.

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