For a large number of independent operators, 2013 was not a year to remember. Of the companies on SN’s 2014 list of the Top 50 Small Chains and Independents, 40% experienced flat or lower sales —14 of whom saw revenues drop and six others who were stuck in neutral. Asked why 2013 was such a difficult year, Peter Larkin, president and CEO of the National Grocers Association, told SN, “As I travel around the country, a lot of members tell me 2013 was a very challenging year, ...

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