underserved neighborhoods might be the reason behind the less vigorous growth of stores. Powell had used 2000 census data and will update the information when new census figures are available. However, she said she did not think this was a significant factor except perhaps for cases on the margin.

As the recession deepens, local employment will be affected and customers may purchase more energy-dense, relatively cheaper foods. Some stores, including food outlets, will go out of business or curtail services. In that regard, said Gallagher, two food stores in close proximity to each other can keep the market competitive and this would benefit consumers. In contrast, a store without competition, faced with dwindling profit margins, may not maintain cleanliness and service, thus exacerbating its problems.

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