Foodstuffs North Island is still among the world’s 250 largest retailers, according to Deloitte’s Global Powers of Retailing list for 2017, which is based on publicly available fiscal data for the 2015 and has seen Walmart taking the top spot again with a retail revenue of $482 billion.

Foodstuffs NI has lost some ground since last year’s report, when it came in at 184th on the list with a retail revenue of US$5 billion. This time, the company occupied the 202nd position with a retail revenue of US$4.4 billion (NZ$6.5 billion).

The average size of a company on the list was US$17.2 billion, and the 250 companies generated aggregate retail revenues of US$4.31 trillion. With 133 companies making the cut, the fmcg sector was by far the most represented.

Deloitte’s report also offered an interesting glimpse into the retail trends for 2017.

Changing preferences is first on the list: rather than owning many items, modern consumers want few, better things, and are defining themselves by how curated their lives are in terms of possessions and experiences. Additionally, they look for authentic, shareable experiences and products that reflect the ‘personal brand’ they promote on social media.

A second relevant trend concerns changing formats, namely the ‘retailisation’ or explosive growth of non-traditional retailers developing new models. “In 2017 and beyond, market fragmentation in the retail space will continue to grow,” the report reads. “As disruption and alternative business models persist, retailers will need to reinvent themselves.”

Amazon has set a high bar for both online and bricks-and-mortar retailers, now even in grocery. Modern consumers expect on-demand fulfilment of their needs and desires, and retailers need to attune to that mindset in order to stay relevant, offering both speed and high quality.

The final trend identified by Deloitte concerns the arrival of ‘exponential living’, with technologies like AI, robots, sensors and virtual reality no longer being just sci-fi props.

“The most innovative retailers are already using them to enhance interactions with customers,” the company said, before adding that this tech revolution is not limited to the in-store experience. Driverless cars, for example, may be used for deliveries or to run errands on multiple stores.

“The impacts to the customer journey from self-driving cars are endless. The same impacts can be expected from the wide-scale adoption of augmented reality, 3D printing, holograms and other technologies.”