SALT LAKE CITY -- American Stores Co. here said total sales increased 1.4% to $4.98 billion for the fourth quarter ended Jan. 31 and 2.5% to $19.14 billion for fiscal year 1997. er and 11.5% for the year. Victor L. Lund, chairman and chief executive officer of American Stores, said the company reduced operating expenses in the fourth quarter. "We achieved a slight reduction in expenses as a percent of sales in spite of pressures from many new store openings and strong competition," he ...

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