PLEASANTON, Calif. — Safeway here believes its price-reduction efforts are beginning to pay off in stronger volume numbers, though an unanticipated spike in deflation is offsetting those improvements, Steve Burd, chairman, president and chief executive officer, told investors last week. 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 ...

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