Modest sales improvements among mass merchants during back-to-school season suggest supermarkets are likely to see languid sales at best through the rest of the year, though slight inflation could help sales numbers improve, industry analysts told SN last week. Among mass merchants that compete with supermarkets, August sales rose 9% at Costco Wholesale Corp., Issaquah, Wash., but only 1.9% at BJ's Wholesale Club, Natick, Mass.; and 1.8% at Target Corp., Minneapolis. Food categories showed ...

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