Economic Impact Government Affairs

New Study Reveals Independent Grocers’ Compensation Benchmarks

Aug 23, 2012

Arlington, VA – The National Grocers Association (NGA) and FMS released the first annual edition of an in-depth, comprehensive study that compares a range of financial benchmarks at independent supermarkets across the country.  The 2012 Compensation and Benefits Study offers insight as it analyzes independent grocers’ finances pertaining to health care plans, benefits, retirement plans, and pay increases (categorized by position).  A 17-page questionnaire was sent to the NGA membership, FMS customer base, and additional grocery retailing companies from 68 companies across the country that represents 2,533 stores.  This data will help establish the best standards and policies for independent grocers’ operating budgets. 

“This study is an invaluable resource for grocers seeking to ensure their compensation and benefits for employees, across all departments, are competitive to attract and retain the best and the brightest. With almost 100% (98.7%) of the study’s respondents reporting that they offer at least one health plan option, it’s clear that employees are a grocers’ most valuable asset and they’re doing their best to continue providing great benefits during this economic downtown,” stated NGA President and CEO Peter J. Larkin. 

“From single store operators to multi-store operators, NGA and FMS compiled a strong sample of the country’s independent grocers located throughout the country - West, South, Northeast, and Midwest,” continues Larkin. The 2012 Compensation and Benefits Study is an essential handbook for all independent grocers providing candid and extensive financial information on the independent grocery industry.” 

“Independent grocers continue to feel the squeeze of a struggling economy,” contends FMS President Robert Graybill. “This report will help businesses observe pay rates and benefits in regions around the country in order to remain competitive in retaining staff when the economy begins to turn around.”

Results representative of the study include: 

  • 98.7% of the respondents offer at least one health plan option

  • 60.7% of the respondents offer a PPO (Preferred Provider Organization) – most common

  • 67.2% of the respondents offer dental

  • 92.7% offer one or more retirement plan options

  • 40.3% offer Wellness Programs (for example: free flu shot, smoking cessation incentives, weight watchers membership, etc.)

  • Median pay increase in 2011 - 3% 

Copies of the detailed study can be purchased at NGA's or FMS’s website. 


About The National Grocers Association:  NGA is the national trade association representing the retail and wholesale grocers that comprise the independent sector of the food distribution industry.  An independent retailer is a privately owned or controlled food retail company operating a variety of formats.  Most independent operators are serviced by wholesale distributors, while others may be partially or fully self-distributing.  Some are publicly traded but with controlling shares held by the family and others are employee owned.  Independents are the true "entrepreneurs" of the grocery industry and dedicated to their customers, associates, and communities.  NGA members include retail and wholesale grocers, state grocers associations, as well as manufacturers and service suppliers.  For more information about NGA, click here.

About FMS: Since 1974, FMS has helped independent retail grocers succeed by transforming historic accounting activities into timely, accurate decision support tools. The company’s keen understanding of the challenges the industry faces has positioned it as the National Grocers Association’s (N.G.A.) preferred provider of industry benchmarking, best practices and mission-critical decision support. With headquarters in Baltimore, MD and additional offices in Pittsburgh, PA; Portland, OR; and Nashville, TN, FMS services organizations in more than 2,000 locations across the U.S. — enabling them to improve profitability through better decision support. To learn more about FMS, please call 877.435.9400 or visit

Government Relations

Representing independent grocers and wholesalers in government and industry affairs.

Learn More...

Economic Impact

Our industry is responsible for about 1% of GDP, including $131 billion in sales, 944,200 jobs, and $30 billion in wages.

Learn More...