As of 2015, Piggly Wiggly stores are primarily located in the southern and midwestern regions of the United States. While there are currently over 600 stores in 17 states, the company operated over 2,600 stores in 1932. Piggly Wiggly had operations in Canada until 1935, when it sold those stores to Safeway.
Piggly Wiggly stores are more common in small- to medium-sized cities and rural areas. They have difficulty competing with large grocery chains typical of dense population centers.
The Piggly Wiggly chain was the first self-service grocery store. Its concept of having customers move through aisles to choose their own products made name-brand recognition important. The chain introduced the first grocery carts in its Oklahoma City store in 1937, and it was the first grocery store with checkout stands. It was also the first chain to mark the prices on each product.
After Piggly Wiggly owner Clarence Sanders attempted a corner on the market, the Stock Exchange Governors forced him to give up his holdings in 1922. Regional grocery stores such as Kroger, Safeway and National Tea took over many of the operations, while a few stores remained as franchises of Piggly Wiggly. The current owner of the franchising company, C&S Wholesale Grocers, acquired the brand as the result of a bankruptcy.