THE STRONG GET STRONGER: HOW 10 COMPANIES FARED IN THE FIRST HALF

Growing discrepancies between strong and weak players characterized the financial results for the nation's top 10 publicly traded chains during the first half of 2000, and the second half is unlikely to see much closing of the gap, industry analysts told SN.As a group, the 10 companies saw sales rise 5.7% and operating income jump 20% from year-ago results, while average same-store sales fell slightly

Growing discrepancies between strong and weak players characterized the financial results for the nation's top 10 publicly traded chains during the first half of 2000, and the second half is unlikely to see much closing of the gap, industry analysts told SN.

As a group, the 10 companies saw sales rise 5.7% and operating income jump 20% from year-ago results, while average same-store sales fell slightly to 1.24%, compared with plus 1.4% in last year's first half.

Individually,

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