THE NEWS: Safeway Inc. said its profit slipped 6 percent in the last three months of 2011 as it paid more to stock its shelves.
THE BIG PICTURE: The grocery industry has been struggling to balance the need to pass on its higher expenses without turning off cost-conscious shoppers.
THE CONTROLS: The Pleasanton, Calif.-based supermarket chain is hoping to mitigate the effect of higher expenses by focusing on store brands, which typically carry higher profit margins.
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