With five quarters of increasing identical-store sales on the books, Steve Burd is a relaxed man. The chairman, president and chief executive officer of Safeway was so laid back at the chain's annual meeting in May that he asked for compliments along with questions — and he got them. Since Pleasanton, Calif.-based Safeway lowered chainwide pricing two years ago while maintaining the quality standards it has been using to differentiate its stores, the company has established ...

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