Maintaining a pet aisle in the supermarket channel has become a bit of a rat race. Sales growth in other venues -- where prices can be lower and the variety more appealing -- has some operators feeling like they're lost in the mix. "[The category] is a bit of an orphan," observed Bill Brunetti, owner of Bruno's Foods, a single-unit operation in Lakeport, Calif. For now, supermarkets still lead the pack in total pet sales, accounting for 37% of the market in 2003, according to a recent ...

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