FOOD 4 LESS, RALPHS REPORT 1ST-QUARTER SALES INCREASES

LOS ANGELES -- As Food 4 Less Supermarkets and Ralphs Grocery Co. move closer to their long-anticipated merger, both companies reported sales increases for their respective first quarters ended April 23. The $1.5 billion merger is expected to be completed by mid-June, a Food 4 Less spokesman told SN last week -- following a second week of arranging for purchasing of notes in the new entity. Ralphs,

LOS ANGELES -- As Food 4 Less Supermarkets and Ralphs Grocery Co. move closer to their long-anticipated merger, both companies reported sales increases for their respective first quarters ended April 23. The $1.5 billion merger is expected to be completed by mid-June, a Food 4 Less spokesman told SN last week -- following a second week of arranging for purchasing of notes in the new entity. Ralphs, Compton, Calif., said sales for the 12-week quarter rose 3.5% to $637.5 million, while same-

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