Supermarkets are using auto supplies, now a mainstay segment in general merchandise, as a competitive wedge against the mass merchandisers. Rogers Markets, Fort Wayne, Ind., for example, has built its auto supply mix in 4-foot to 12-foot sections around the basics: antifreeze, motor oils, waxes and polishes. The mix "keeps our customers from going to Wal-Mart for these items," said Renee Seaman, nonfood buyer. With the proper mix of products and pricing, retailers can make good profits ...

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