Industry observers have begun to view the prospect of consolidation striking supermarket operators in the Northeast the way Californians might view the next earthquake. They are certain it is coming, but can never be sure quite when. While major cracks have yet to open along the Northeast fault lines, tremors have been ongoing for two years now. Many suggest a pairing of Montvale, N.J.-based A&P and Carteret, N.J.-based Pathmark as the event that would begin to shift the landscape. ...

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