SALT LAKE CITY -- American Stores Co. here said last week sales increased and earnings rose by more than 20% for the third consecutive financial period during the first quarter ended May 1. after-tax gain of $17.3 million related to stock options, which became vested upon shareholder approval of the merger -- while sales rose 3.6% to $5 billion and comparable-store sales rose 2.4% overall. The company did not break out comparable sales for its food and drug sides, as it traditionally has ...

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