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Oct. 8, 2012: Independents Eke Out Profit Gains

ARLINGTON, Va. — The independent sector saw average net profits before taxes rise to 1.12% in 2011, compared with 1.08% in 2010 — a gain of 3.7% — according to the 2012 Independent Grocers Financial Survey from the National Grocers Association here and FMS Solutions, Baltimore. Independents also saw same-store sales rise 2.6% last year, although after adjusting for food-at-home inflation of 4.8%, comps actually were down 2.2%, the survey indicated.  Total store gross margin increased 65 basis points to 26.33%, compared with 25.68% in 2010. According to Robert Graybill, president and chief executive officer of FMS, “The profit leaders have developed a formula for success by gaining a close understanding of their local market, controlling expenses and growing margins.  By solid management decisions in good economic years, they managed to grow profits even further despite the difficult business environment.”