RETAILERS END '04 WITH STRONG HOLIDAY SALES

Buoyed by a strengthening economy, the 2004 holiday shopping season helped many food retailers end the year on a positive note, according to a survey of supermarket operators and analysts polled by SN last week.Analysts said consumers were more free-spending this year because of the improving economy, and that may have contributed to more discretionary purchases at supermarkets."We haven't had anybody

Buoyed by a strengthening economy, the 2004 holiday shopping season helped many food retailers end the year on a positive note, according to a survey of supermarket operators and analysts polled by SN last week.

Analysts said consumers were more free-spending this year because of the improving economy, and that may have contributed to more discretionary purchases at supermarkets.

"We haven't had anybody report yet, but I suspect the economy was more on their side than last yea

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