Supermarket industry sales increased 5.3 percent in 2006, and same-store sales rose 4.0 percent, the highest mark for this performance measure in more than a decade, according to the Food Retailing Industry Speaks: Annual State of the Industry Review 2007 released here today by the Food Marketing Institute (FMI).

These figures were up from 4.6 percent and 2.4 percent, respectively, in 2005. The national chains reported a banner year in sales and profit growth, but the picture was far less rosy for many other retailers. In fact, same-store sales decreased for nearly one-quarter (23.5 percent) of food retailers. All together, nearly half (47.1 percent) lost ground in same-store sales when factoring in inflation. Net income before taxes and extraordinary items decreased to 1.8 percent, from 2.1 percent. Retailers with more than 100 stores reported the highest income numbers at a median of 3.2 percent.

"These results are impressive in view of all the rising costs the industry must bear, including energy, healthcare, credit card interchange fees and the imperative to keep improving products and services in today’s extraordinarily competitive marketplace," said FMI Senior Vice President Michael Sansolo. "However, it is also clear that many retailers are struggling to solve the puzzle of cutting costs as much as possible while continually improving customer service."