There's no topic for a news article or editorial that's more likely to spark a flurry of telephone calls, letters and e-mails than one about how the net sales volume of independents is declining. Usually a host of messages arrives to the effect that it's not that independents are in decline, but that the industry's definition of what constitutes an independent is faulty. For many years, the industry has defined an independent as a grouping of fewer than 11 stores and store groupings of 11 ...

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