A first look at economic impact of independents

May 03, 2013

New NGA research could open eyes about community dependence on jobs and tax revenues of independent grocers.

The best of the nation’s independent grocers are known to be nimble, innovative and able to keep share away from larger chain competitors.

Now for the first time, the National Grocers Association (NGA) can quantify the economic impact of the channel it represents.  With these figures, NGA can tell a more meaningful story about the importance of independent retailers who survive despite tight economies and a proliferation of food merchants.  A new study conducted for NGA by John Dunham and Associates provides key metrics on store counts, sales, jobs, wages and taxes.

For example, the study shows:

  • 20,884 independent supermarkets nationwide generate $129.5 billion in annual sales.
  • 944,200 employees in these stores earn more than $30 billion in yearly wages.
  • There’s a ripple effect when employees of independent supermarkets and the suppliers that provide them spend their wages—and it generates an additional 569,380 jobs.
  • Independent grocers and their workers pay $13.25 billion in annual federal taxes—1.73% of all federal tax revenues.
  • The industry pays another $13.98 billion in state and local taxes.

The Lempert Report believes this kind of data further suggests the grassroots support that exists for independents and the symbiotic community ties they have in their trading areas.   Consumers often prefer to shop at locally owned businesses rather than distantly headquartered chains to help keep the fabric of their communities intact, keep cash flowing nearby and protect jobs.  This NGA study, in our view, documents the benefits of such unity.