Walking through the streets of Paris last week, a shopper in search of one of the city's fast-blooming supermarkets stopped at a small butchershop to ask directions. "You mean the plague?" growled the butcher. "It's around the corner." The butcher had reason to growl. Since the first U.S.-style self-service markets opened in Europe a few years ago, "la méthode américaine" has sparked a revolution in food retailing. The familiar cubbyhole specialty store, with its high prices and limited stock, is on the way out. Rising to replace it is the big, flashy market that offers customers everything from plastic-packaged carrots...

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