TORONTO — Cost controls and buying efficiency helped Loblaw Cos. here improve profits by 20.4% during the third quarter, but deflation slowed sales. Officials in a conference call on Tuesday said the company has begun heavy price investments at its banners to spark volume, but maintained a cautious outlook. “We believe that inflation — or a lack of it — will be a factor for at least the next six months, restricting revenue growth,” Allen Leighton, president and deputy chairman of Loblaw, ...

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