Survey Shows Indies Surviving Tough Times

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Survey Shows Indies Surviving Tough Times


Independent grocers managed to keep afloat in 2009 in spite of stormy economic seas, according to the 2010 Independent Grocers Survey from the National Grocers Association (N.G.A.) and Pasadena, Md.-based FMS.

The financial and operational review of the independent retail grocery industry found that retailers netted an overall 1.68 percent net profit before taxes, vs. public companies’ reported average of 1.31 percent. This was quite a feat, considering not just an adverse economic environment, but also aggressively bargain-hunting shoppers and stiffer price competition than ever. This year’s survey results for respondents’ total gross margins came to 26.28 percent, while the 2009 survey logged 26.94 percent.

Among the topics covered in the survey were the “Top 7” issues rated by N.G.A. members: health care reform, energy costs, the economic stimulus plan, death tax permanent repeal, international policies, supercenter legislation and immigration reform. Health care reform, one of the biggest issues for retailers over the past few years, remained the No. 1 concern for survey respondents, its ranking edging up by 0.46 percentage points.

“Understanding relevant industry benchmarks and characteristics of best-in-class retailers greatly improves grocers’ ability to reduce costs and compete more effectively in today’s environment,” noted Frank DiPasquale, EVP of the Arlington, Va.-based N.G.A. “Independent retailers showed just how agile and skilled their companies are by performing so strongly in the height of the recession. It is amazing to see their ability to compete against the big-box retailers with such a price-sensitive consumer.”

The survey is available to N.G.A. members at a cost of $75 and to non-members for $300. For more information, visit, or contact Jennifer Brant at [email protected] or (703) 516-0700.