Several companies zeroed in on noncontiguous markets outside their home territories in 1996, with some eyeing foreign expansion in the next few years. Quality Food Centers, Bellevue, Wash., perhaps set the industry's most ambitious growth scheme. In September, it unveiled plans to form a holding company dedicated to seeking expansion beyond Washington in any markets where opportunities might arise. QFC's first stop was southern California, where it disclosed plans in late November to merge ...

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