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The Top Industries For Independent Businesses In 2011

The Huffington Post     First Posted: 12/24/11 11:50 AM ET   Updated: 12/24/11 11:50 AM ET

American small businesses' biggest wish this holiday season may be more revenue, but privately held firms saw sales increases in a number of industries this year, according to recent data.

Automotive and electronics sales both rose more than 10 percent over the last 12 months, according to Sageworks, a financial information company. Some industries such as the restaurant business may not have fared so well, but other sectors like retail saw solid sales.

Much of the retail industry's growth could be due to the holiday season. Stores saw record turnout on Black Friday, leading in part to the National Retail Federation revising up its holiday sales estimates.

The electronics industry saw especially good sales this year, with an increase of 11.14 percent, Sageworks reports. Much of the growth may be due to falling prices for flat screen TVs which have been a hot item during this holiday season, causing retailers to go toe-to-toe to provide the best deals.

However, it's automotive sales that saw the largest increase with nearly 15 percent growth this year. As consumers put off making big auto purchases during the heart of the recession, the industry may benefit from pent up demand, which could spell good news for automakers going into 2012, Sageworks found. In November alone, industry sales leapt 14 percent to 994,721, according to Autodata Corp.

One sector that continues to struggle is full-service restaurants with sales growing just 1.41 percent. People may still be feeling the effects of the recession that saw only around half of American adults dine out at all from fall 2009 to fall 2010, according to an October poll. But with the year ending on an apparent economic upswing, that may soon change for the better.

Here are ten industries which saw the greatest sales increases over the past 12 months as of December 2nd, according to Sageworks:

10. Full-Service Restaurants
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Percentage sales increase over last 12 months: 1.41 percent
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