CINCINNATI -- Kroger Co. is and will remain No. 1. Last week's riveting announcement that Kroger here has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Fred Meyer Inc., Portland, Ore., demonstrated that in some cases the more things change, the more they stay the same. Kroger, already the nation's top-volume chain, stood to lose the top spot once the merger of Boise, Idaho-based Albertson's and American Stores Co., Salt Lake City, is completed early next year. However, the combination of ...

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