NUMBER FOUR in the supermarket league table, Safeway looks increasingly vulnerable to takeover following the issue of its third profits warning in little more than a year. In a dash for sales growth, Safeway's new store start-up costs (particularly in Northern Ireland) have spiralled upward. There is also a £30m charge to cover the closure of unprofitable stores and concomitant redundancies, resulting in a likely fall in current full-year profits to £375m compared with last year's £430m. City analysts had been forecasting profits of between £410-£440m.
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