SPLURGE 'N MERGE

Consolidation is here to stay -- at least as long as the economy remains healthy, costs can be harnessed and efficiencies can be achieved.That's the assessment of a variety of industry observers, who see the phenomenon of market consolidations through mergers and acquisitions continuing for the future."For supermarket operators, staying independently owned is a short-term pleasure," Jonathan Ziegler,

Consolidation is here to stay -- at least as long as the economy remains healthy, costs can be harnessed and efficiencies can be achieved.

That's the assessment of a variety of industry observers, who see the phenomenon of market consolidations through mergers and acquisitions continuing for the future.

"For supermarket operators, staying independently owned is a short-term pleasure," Jonathan Ziegler, a securities analyst with the San Francisco office of Salomon Smith Barney,

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