Progressive Grocer Independent

JUN 2016

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Page 18 of 43

State of the Independents Annual Report A lot of things can change in a year, and yet many things can remain relatively unchanged. Every year, Progressive Grocer Independent's sister publication Progressive Grocer surveys the overall grocery market, including independent operators, chain stores, wholesalers and distributors, to get a read on how the industry as a whole is functioning — what's changing and what's staying the same. As a whole, independents with 10 stores or fewer make up 18 percent of the grocery industry in 2016, a number that remains unchanged from 2015, according Nielsen data. Independent retailers' optimism may be down, but they're well suited to a fast-changing marketplace. By Katie Martin Te total number of stores crept up slightly to 6,858, from 6,791 last year. However while independents account for a sizable chunk of stores, the same isn't true for industry sales: Indepen- dents contributed only 5.5 percent in total sales for 2016, essentially un- changed from last year. Dollar sales saw a minimal increase to $36 billion, from $35.6 billion. Tese percentages and sales num- bers are nothing new — they've been holding in this range for several years. How independents are feeling about their market is in a bit of fux, however. In PG's 2015 Annual Report, Challenges and MORE CHALLENGES independents were considerably more optimistic than they were the previous year. Such is not the case in 2016. Optimism took a tumble, from 44.3 percent of retailers expressing more optimism about the current year over the previous year in 2015 to only 27.6 percent feeling the same way this year. About 10 percent more expressed less optimism than last year, but more than one-third reported feeling no change about the retail climate. What has remained consistent is that independents are less optimistic about the market than chain operators are. June 2016 | Defining the Independent Market | 19

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