TIGHT CONSUMER SPENDING HOLDS SALES PERFORMANCE BACK

For supermarket retailers, it was an ugly second half of 2002, and the first half of 2003 isn't looking much better, industry analysts told SN.Overall sales gains were modest for most of the Top 10 publicly traded companies, with six of them experiencing negative same-store sales results and four suffering lower operating income, including one -- A&P -- that had an operating loss.Total sales for the

For supermarket retailers, it was an ugly second half of 2002, and the first half of 2003 isn't looking much better, industry analysts told SN.

Overall sales gains were modest for most of the Top 10 publicly traded companies, with six of them experiencing negative same-store sales results and four suffering lower operating income, including one -- A&P -- that had an operating loss.

Total sales for the 10 companies declined an average of 16.3% from the second half of 2001;

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