For the first half of 1996, the major supermarket operators registered substantial gains in sales and earnings from a year ago -- a trend expected to continue through the balance of this year, securities analysts told SN. A survey of financial results among the top 20 chains with equity or public debt, for the period approximating the first six months of 1996, showed the following: Sales climbed an average of 3.6%, compared with an average increase of 2.3% in the first half of 1995. ...

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