Safeway and Kroger Co. improved their overall profitability in 2005 after successful measures to drive sales, but small, regional supermarket chains also achieved high returns, according to data compiled by SN. In the second SN Profit Leaders Index, Kroger and Safeway debuted at Nos. 4 and 7, respectively, after special charges taken in 2004 kept them off the list and strong sales rebounds and cost controls led to better margins. The index measures five indicators of profitability - return ...

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