Merger-and-acquisition activity touched many of the largest supermarket operators in 2013 in what could be described as a year of “banner churn” in food retailing. The companies that had in recent years been known as the “big three” of supermarket retailing — Kroger Co., Safeway and Supervalu — all made major moves to either add banners to their portfolios or shed them. Kroger agreed to acquire Harris Teeter; Safeway unloaded both its Canada division and ...

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