Business: Bye,Bye,WEO

The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. has had a hard time living up to its name lately. Having closed down unprofitable operations on the West Coast, the U.S.'s largest food chain (3,500 stores) now reaches no closer to the Pacific than Kansas City. There has been nothing great, moreover, about A. & P.'s financial performance. Saddled with too many small or poorly located stores, the company in 1972 gambled on a discount-pricing program known as WEO (for Where Economy Originates) to win more customers, and ended up with a $51 million loss that...

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