The average compound sales-growth rate of the nation's five largest wholesalers increased at the quite respectable rate of just under 8% during the five-year period of 1992 to 1996. Yet, during that same period, the market share possessed by independent supermarkets -- traditionally the chief clients of wholesalers -- declined from 21.4% to 16.8%. Store count declined to 11,000, a drop of 1,700 or so. And, during the five-year period, the average stock-price appreciation of wholesalers' was ...

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