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No Evidence of Economic Recovery Yet: Burd

The end of the recession could occur within one or two quarters, but there is no evidence yet of consumers trading back up to more discretionary purchases, Steve Burd, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Pleasanton, Calif.-based Safeway, said at an investors’ conference here yesterday.

NEW YORK — The end of the recession could occur within one or two quarters, but there is no evidence yet of consumers trading back up to more discretionary purchases, Steve Burd, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Pleasanton, Calif.-based Safeway, said at an investors’ conference here yesterday.

“The process of trading down took several quarters to be complete across all categories, and it is now so pervasive that it’s hard to believe there is much room to trade down further from where we are,” he said at the Goldman Sachs 16th Annual Global Retailing Conference.

Also, while some regional operators who don’t report same-store sales numbers may appear to be doing well, he added, “many are really struggling in this elongated recession, and there will be a lot of weakness among many of those companies once the recessions ends” — a situation Burd said might mean small groups of stores will be available for acquisition.

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