THE NEXT BIG DEAL

It has been a quiet first half in the supermarket industry in terms of merger and acquisition activity.But the major companies' ongoing quest for growth could soon spark some merger activity, according to industry observers. Although conditions are still not ripe for another wave of consolidation like the one of the late 1990s, some acquisition activity is expected before too much longer.In recent

It has been a quiet first half in the supermarket industry in terms of merger and acquisition activity.

But the major companies' ongoing quest for growth could soon spark some merger activity, according to industry observers. Although conditions are still not ripe for another wave of consolidation like the one of the late 1990s, some acquisition activity is expected before too much longer.

In recent months, acquisitions have been limited to small groups of stores that have bee

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