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Large retail store operated on a self-service basis, selling groceries, produce, meat, bakery and dairy products, and sometimes nonfood goods. Supermarkets were first established in the U.S. during the 1930s as no-frills retail stores offering low prices. In the 1940s and '50s they became the major food marketing channel in the U.S.; the 1950s also saw them spread through much of Europe. Their growth is part of a trend in developed countries toward reducing cost and simplifying marketing. In the 1960s supermarkets began appearing in developing countries in the Middle East, Asia, and Latin America, where they appealed to individuals who had the necessary buying power and food storage facilities.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on supermarket, visit Britannica.com.