CHAINS BOW TO PRESSURE

Albertsons, the nation's No. 2 conventional supermarket retailer, was on the verge of being sold and broken up as 2005 ended, demonstrating the intensity of competitive pressures during the year.Those pressures also forced two chains into bankruptcy filings - industry giant Winn-Dixie and regional operator Buehler Foods - and prompted several other companies to consider strategic alternatives. Among

Albertsons, the nation's No. 2 conventional supermarket retailer, was on the verge of being sold and broken up as 2005 ended, demonstrating the intensity of competitive pressures during the year.

Those pressures also forced two chains into bankruptcy filings - industry giant Winn-Dixie and regional operator Buehler Foods - and prompted several other companies to consider strategic alternatives. Among them are Associated Grocers, Seattle; Marsh Supermarkets, Indianapolis; and

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