NEW YORK — In a presentation at the Bear Stearns Retail, Restaurant & Consumer Conference here last week, Safeway's top executive defended the company's fourth-quarter results, released late last month, blaming “the popular press” and the Internet for “confusion” that resulted in a 7% drop in the chain's stock price the day the numbers were disclosed. Steve Burd, chairman, president and chief executive officer, Safeway, said the cost-reduction program Safeway instituted early in the ...

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