SMART & FINAL SALES UP, PROFITS DOWN

LOS ANGELES -- Smart & Final here said last week it's still trying to strike a balance between building sales and maintaining gross margins as it seeks to hold onto the sales momentum it built during last year's Southern California labor dispute.Consequently, a decline in gross margins during the first quarter ended March 27 was appropriate, Etienne Snollaerts, president and chief executive officer,

LOS ANGELES -- Smart & Final here said last week it's still trying to strike a balance between building sales and maintaining gross margins as it seeks to hold onto the sales momentum it built during last year's Southern California labor dispute.

Consequently, a decline in gross margins during the first quarter ended March 27 was appropriate, Etienne Snollaerts, president and chief executive officer, told analysts during a conference call to discuss financial results for the 12-we

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