Retailing: Weak Tea

The U.S. grocery bill last year rose to a record $80 billion, and the big supermarket chains walked away with 45% of the total. Safeway Stores, the second biggest U.S. chain, increased its sales 6.3%, and third-ranking Kroger Co. made a 10.7% gain. Last week the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co., the biggest and oldest (106 years) of them all, rang in with a report that sounded slightly sour amid all those sweet cash-register tunes. A. & P.'s 1964 sales of $5.08 billion represented a slight decrease, and its earnings dropped 10%...

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