Consumers appear to make little distinction between supermarkets and alternative formats -- a fact demonstrated during the first three weeks of the Southern California labor dispute, when Longs Drug Stores reported an upsurge in business that it attributed directly to consumers seeking shopping alternatives. The Walnut Creek, Calif.-based drug chain, which operates about a third of its 467 locations in Southern California, said comparable-store sales in October "were favorably impacted by ...

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