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The 25 percent most profitable conventional supermarkets owned by independents — median pre-tax earnings of 8.2 percent of sales — pay the highest wages and benefits at 13.6 percent, according to the Operating Results of Independent Supermarkets, 2001-2002, released here today by the Food Marketing Institute (FMI).

Their investment in employees is reflected in the percentage of sales for high-service departments, such as meat (14.5 percent of total store sales), produce (12.3 percent) and delis (7.1 percent) — together accounting for 33.9 percent of sales. Such departmental sales for the 25 percent least profitable stores totaled 29.9 percent.

“These figures illustrate the two hallmarks of independent operators: customer service and high-quality perishables,” said Michael Sansolo, president of the FMI Independent Operators Division. “Many of the most successful ones use perishables to establish a niche and company brand — a most effective strategy to succeed in today’s relentlessly competitive marketplace.”

“This report is designed to serve as benchmarking tool for independent retailers,” said Sansolo. It includes sales data, productivity measures, use of space, inventory management and department information such as inventory turns and percentage of total store sales. The companies that supplied information for the report receive a complimentary Store Performance Report with their own data printed alongside industry averages.

Additional data from the report, as well as purchase information, can be found at
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