ALBERTSONS PUTS MARGINS AHEAD OF SALES GROWTH

BOISE, Idaho -- Albertsons is standing by its decision to retain margins at the expense of sales growth, but analysts see challenges ahead.The company reported a comparable-store sales increase of 1.8% for the first quarter ending May 5, excluding results at Shaw's Supermarkets, Quincy, Mass., or Bristol Farms, Carson, Calif., which it acquired last year. The company did not break out the food portion

BOISE, Idaho -- Albertsons is standing by its decision to retain margins at the expense of sales growth, but analysts see challenges ahead.

The company reported a comparable-store sales increase of 1.8% for the first quarter ending May 5, excluding results at Shaw's Supermarkets, Quincy, Mass., or Bristol Farms, Carson, Calif., which it acquired last year. The company did not break out the food portion of the comp, but analysts contacted by SN last week estimated that, excluding fuel

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