BOISE, Idaho -- Albertson's here acquired a major challenge in June when it closed its deal to merge with American Stores Co., Salt Lake City: How to integrate the operations of these two large and far-flung chains. Gary E. Michael, Albertson's chairman and chief executive officer, has said the sheer size of the new company should produce great economies of scale. With approximately 2,500 stores in 38 states, Albertson's is now the second-largest supermarket chain in the nation, behind only ...

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