DEBT RATINGS FOR BIG THREE ONE STEP CLOSER TO 'JUNK'

NEW YORK -- Saying that competitive pressures from nontraditional food retailers have fundamentally changed the supermarket business, Standard & Poor's here last week lowered its bond ratings on Kroger, Albertsons and Safeway.Ratings for the three retailers, which fell to BBB- from BBB, are still considered investment grade but are one notch above "junk" level. Analysts told SN the change could impact

NEW YORK -- Saying that competitive pressures from nontraditional food retailers have fundamentally changed the supermarket business, Standard & Poor's here last week lowered its bond ratings on Kroger, Albertsons and Safeway.

Ratings for the three retailers, which fell to BBB- from BBB, are still considered investment grade but are one notch above "junk" level. Analysts told SN the change could impact the cost of borrowing money, but that the real risk would be any further downgr

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