Independent grocery stores, which make up about 5% of the grocery market as compared to 20% 10 years ago, saw average net profits before taxes rise to 1.12% in 2011, a 3.7% gain from the previous year, according to a survey by the National Grocers Association and FMS Solutions.

According to the survey, same-store sales for independents rose 2.6%, but when adjusting for food-at-home inflation (changes in retail prices for food), it was actually a 2.2% decrease. Gross margins increased from 25.68% to 26.33%.

The survey also found that independents whose net profits were in the top 25% of the sector significantly outperformed their peers, as their net profit before taxes was 4.67%, an increase of 14% from the previous year.