view current print edition






Independent grocers play key role in U.S. economy

The National Grocers Association released the results of a study on the impact of independent grocers on America's economy. This groundbreaking research provides a clear picture of the key role independent grocers play at the national, state and congressional district level.

The research was conducted by John Dunham & Associates, an economic and government relations research firm based out of New York. The report provides information independent grocers and wholesalers sales, jobs created, wages paid and federal and state taxes paid.

The study also measures the indirect impact and ripple effect of the independent channel on other industries.

"Since I started working for NGA in 2010 one of the most common questions I have been asked is, 'How big is the independent grocery channel?' Unfortunately, I have not had reliable numbers to answer that question — until now," Peter J. Larkin, president and chief executive officer of the National Grocers Association, said in an April 23 press release. "The report we are releasing today provides key metrics for the direct and indirect economic contributions of independent grocers and wholesalers including number of stores, sales, jobs, wages and taxes. Those of us who are close to the business are not surprised by the significant impact our sector of the industry has on the nation's economy. Now we can showcase our contributions in a more meaningful, factual way."

Significant takeaways of the report include:

  • 20,884 stores are operated by independent supermarket companies in every congressional district of the United States.
  • Independent grocers are responsible for $129.5 billion in annual sales.
  • Independent grocers employ 944,200 people, and pay over $30 billion in wages each year.
  • An additional 569,380 jobs are created through respending of those wages or companies which support the supermarket industry.
  • Independent supermarkets and their employees contribute $13.25 billion in taxes to the federal government, which is 1.73 percent of the total taxes collected at the federal level.
  • An additional $13.98 billion in taxes are paid by the industry at the state and local level.
  • In total, independent grocers account for close to 1 percent of the total U.S. economy, as determined by GDP.

"These results are astounding, but not surprising," Joseph Sheridan, president and chief operating officer of Wakefern Food Corp. and chairman of the NGA, added in the press release. "Independents are the true 'entrepreneurs' of the grocery industry. But beyond that we strive to enhance the communities that we serve, and seeing the numbers in black and white shows just how impactful those efforts are."

The study will be used to spread the message to suppliers, partners in the industry and on Capitol Hill that independent grocers are an important part of our nation's economy and that their issues should be heard, according to an NGA statement.