RETAILING: War in the Supermarkets

PEOPLE beefing about the oppressive price of food may find it hard to believe, but the supermarket business has traditionally operated with profits as thin as a sales slip and competition as keen as a butcher's blade. Prices are going up not because supermarkets are squeezing out more money, but primarily because they have had to pay more to wholesalers, who in turn have had to pay more to farmers. The July wholesale price index rose at an annual rate of 8.4%, from 6% the month before, mainly because of food costs....