Checking competitors' prices and making sure the various clip strips, blade signs and poppers that festoon Center Store aisles are intact are now a part of store employees' routine at Crossroads County Market in Wausau, Wis. It all takes time, but store manager Mary Gaiche believes it's worth it. When a Wal-Mart supercenter opened two-and-a-half years ago, sales at the 64,000-square-foot store temporarily declined 5%, but now are 5% ahead of last year. "We were prepared to take a hit, but ...

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