The Mighty Tremble

Food shortages threaten to make a mockery of the merchandising might of grocery chain stores. At Chicago, last week, at the annual meeting of the National Association of Food Chains, goliath grocers like A. & P., Safeway and Kroger heard that the foundations of their greatness were being undermined—huge turnover shrinking, their small but carefully controlled unit profits thrown out of kilter by price ceilings.

Last year the chains sold one-third of all U.S. retail foodstuffs, grossed $3.8 billion. Sales volume climbed still higher this year. Some chains have had the best...

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