The supermarket industry's next big deal will be the acquisition of Pathmark Stores, Carteret, N.J., by Safeway, Pleasanton, Calif., according to the consensus prediction of a half dozen equity analysts interviewed by SN in late April. While equity analysts don't pretend to know the future, they willingly speculated on which mergers and acquisitions might be announced before the end of the year, and also offered opinions on whether Wal-Mart Stores is ready to move from its rural stronghold ...

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