The better part of a year ago, we took a look, in this space, at the burgeoning phenomenon of value retailing. At that time, we considered predictions that such retailers -- including one-price and closeout -- would continue to grow store numbers at a fast pace, perhaps in excess of 6% for a period of years. Conversely, several securities analysts predicted at that time that the value channel would start to falter as soon as the economy picked up. One said the channel was destined to "fall ...

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