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Merchants Foodservice makes national ranking again

HATTIESBURG — The nation’s 50 largest broadline distributors collectively broke the $100-billion mark in 2010, growing sales 5 percent over sales reported by the 2009 Top 50.

It was a strong performance following the 2 percent sales decline the Top 50 experienced in 2009. The performance of the top 10 companies alone paints a bright turnaround picture: In 2009, the top 10 together saw their sales decline by 5 percent, with six of the 10 companies reporting losses for the year. In 2010, the top 10 collectively achieved a 5 percent gain and only one among them, U.S. Foodservice, reported a slight sales decline.

None of the top 10 distributors were among the biggest gainers for the year. Rather, with two notable exceptions of Cheney Brothers Inc., (#11) and Hattiesburg-based Merchants Foodservice (#15), companies in the middle and lower portions of the rankings made the biggest strides in 2010.

Merchants Foodservice was the only company that made the list two years in a row. Merchants was number one in the “10 Biggest % Sales Increases in 2009 and fifth in “10 Biggest $ Sales Increases” in 2009.

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