SPEAKING VOLUMES

The top line is a top concern in the industry.e in New York City on industry performance produced a less bullish outlook -- at least for the near term -- than a similar gathering a year ago.The upbeat mood last year was driven partly by better sales momentum and expectations of an inflation pickup. But this time, sales momentum is the problem. Same-store sales growth is lagging.The causes aren't hard

The top line is a top concern in the industry.

e in New York City on industry performance produced a less bullish outlook -- at least for the near term -- than a similar gathering a year ago.

The upbeat mood last year was driven partly by better sales momentum and expectations of an inflation pickup. But this time, sales momentum is the problem. Same-store sales growth is lagging.

The causes aren't hard to pin down: inflation hasn't materialized and deflation is e

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