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Grocery Coop Sales Grew 10 percent in 2004

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The top grocery cooperatives earned $31.4 billion in revenues during 2004, a 10 percent increase over the previous year, according to figures released yesterday by National Cooperative Bank, which provides financial services to co-operatives and other member-owned organizations throughout the United States.

The NCB Co-op 100, which tracks revenues generated by the nation's top 100 revenue-earning cooperatives, showed that grocery cooperatives had the second strongest presence on the NCB Co-op 100 with 19 businesses ranking in the top 100. Ranked number four on the overall list, Wakefern Food Corp. of Elizabeth, N.J., leads the grocery sector on revenue.

"Overall, the nation's top 100 cooperatives have increased revenues by almost $15 billion dollars in 2004, a 14 percent increase from the same period last year and the highest-ever yearly revenue," commented Charles E Snyder, president and c.e.o. of NCB. "This type of double-digit growth is rarely experienced in other business sectors and further demonstrates the vital role of cooperatives in the marketplace and the financial stability it brings to communities nationwide."

The other cooperatives in the grocery sector, in descending rank order according to revenue, are: TOPCO Associates LLC, Associated Wholesale Grocers, Unified Western Grocers, Associated Food Stores, Associated Wholesalers, Inc., Affiliated Foods, Inc., Central Grocers Cooperative, Affiliated Foods Midwest Co-op, Inc., Associated Grocers, Inc. of Seattle, URM Stores, Affiliated Foods Southwest, Piggly Wiggly Alabama, Certified Grocers Midwest, Western Family Holding Company, Associated Grocers of Florida, Inc., Associated Grocers, Inc., Key Food Stores Cooperative, Inc. and Associate Grocers of the South, Inc.

According to the National Cooperative Business Association, there are nearly 40,000 cooperatives in the United States. Besides grocery, industries with cooperative segments include agriculture, hardware and lumber, finance, energy, and housing. Many cooperatives on the NCB Co-op 100 list are household names such as ACE Hardware, Land O'Lakes, and The Associated Press.
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