RALPHS, FOOD 4 LESS COMPLETE MERGER

COMPTON, Calif. -- After nine months of working out the details, Ralphs Grocery Co. here and Food 4 Less Supermarkets finally completed their merger last week, a move that will have a major effect on the dynamics of the southern California marketplace.The combination, which formed a new entity called Ralphs, has the potential to stabilize pricing in southern California, observers said. In particular,

COMPTON, Calif. -- After nine months of working out the details, Ralphs Grocery Co. here and Food 4 Less Supermarkets finally completed their merger last week, a move that will have a major effect on the dynamics of the southern California marketplace.

The combination, which formed a new entity called Ralphs, has the potential to stabilize pricing in southern California, observers said. In particular, the new Ralphs debt load will probably prohibit the chain from fueling a pricing war

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