PLEASANTON, Calif. — Safeway here said Thursday that an unanticipated spike in deflation is offsetting sales-volume improvements. In a conference call with analysts discussing second-quarter results, the company said sales gains in the second quarter and first half, which ended June 19, were basically flat, driven primarily by a more favorable Canadian exchange rate and higher fuel prices but offset by a 2.5% decline in identical-store sales and a deflation rate of 2.4%. “Volume ...

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