NEIGHBORHOOD SUPERMARKETS TAP GROWING 'MIDDLE' NICHE

WASHINGTON - It's an often-repeated declaration from academics and other "experts" who follow the food retailing industry. Supermarkets, they say, are increasingly being squeezed because they are caught in the middle between upscale and downscale retailers.Tim Hammonds, president and chief executive officer of the Food Marketing Institute here, begs to disagree."All of the business school articles

WASHINGTON - It's an often-repeated declaration from academics and other "experts" who follow the food retailing industry. Supermarkets, they say, are increasingly being squeezed because they are caught in the middle between upscale and downscale retailers.

Tim Hammonds, president and chief executive officer of the Food Marketing Institute here, begs to disagree.

"All of the business school articles aside, the death of the middle has been greatly exaggerated," Hammonds said, w

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