PHOENIX -- The recently announced merger plans for Smitty's Supermarkets here and Smith's Food & Drug Centers, Salt Lake City, underline the competitiveness of the Phoenix market, according to observers. The need for consolidation in Phoenix -- which has always been considered one of the country's most competitive markets -- proved to be a key to the decision by Yucaipa Cos., Smitty's Los Angeles-based parent, to merge the stores with Smith's, observers said. "Yucaipa realized that ...

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