PLEASANTON, Calif. — Safeway here said yesterday it is in the midst of a "very aggressive" year-long cost-reduction effort that's expected to provide additional pricing flexibility and help the company achieve its earnings targets, even if demand softens further. The company's stock slid nearly 7% yesterday after a fourth-quarter earnings report in which profits declined and Steve Burd, chairman, president and chief executive officer, said consumer demand was weakening. The cost-cutting ...

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