The most obvious way in which food retailing is combining is simply by means of the spate of acquisition activity that's taken place in recent months. But as a glance at the front page of this week's issue will show, retailing is combining in subtler ways, too: Some industry players are busily moving from being holding companies that devolve management to the local level to becoming companies that drive important management activities from a central headquarters. To start, let's take a ...

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