DEBT RATINGS FOR BIG THREE ONE STEP CLOSER TO 'JUNK'

NEW YORK -- Saying that competitive pressures from nontraditional food retailers have fundamentally changed the supermarket business, Standard & Poor's here last week lowered its bond ratings on Kroger, Albertsons and Safeway.Ratings for the three retailers, which fell to BBB- from BBB, are still considered investment grade but are one notch above "junk" level. Analysts told SN the change could impact

NEW YORK -- Saying that competitive pressures from nontraditional food retailers have fundamentally changed the supermarket business, Standard & Poor's here last week lowered its bond ratings on Kroger, Albertsons and Safeway.

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