Independents’ Advantage Your recent article titled “The Coming Decade: Golden Times Ahead?” (JCK, January 2000, p. 84) included a quote from Ken Gassman Jr., who is a retail stock analyst. Gassman states, “The chains have the clout to buy better than the independents and therefore keep prices in line.” While on the surface, many would feel this statement is true, if we really look at the reality of purchasing inventory, I believe you’ll see that the exact opposite is true. While it’s true that buying $1 million of a certain product will most likely lead to a lower price than if one were to purchase $20,000 worth, how many large chains will write a check for that $1 million purchase? Few, if any. Their purchase is typically financed with interest rates in the 8% range. I, on the other hand, may pay 4% more on the front end because I’m purchasing a smaller quantity; how

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