SALISBURY, N.C. -- Food Lion here said the closing of 84 unprofitable stores helped the company improve earnings in the third quarter ended Sept. 10. Net income rose 18.4% in the 12-week quarter to $36.6 million. The company said its net-margin rate of 1.98% puts it among "the top ranks of grocery chains nationwide." Sales rose 2.35% to $1.85 billion and same-store sales increased 3.2% in the quarter. Tom Smith, chairman, president and chief executive officer, said the improved bottom ...

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