Retail in Asia

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Rival chains secretly fund opposition to Wal-Mart

As Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has grown into the largest grocery seller in the US, protesting of nearby homeowners have played out in hundreds of US towns. Local activists and union groups have been the public face of much of the resistance.

But in scores of cases, large supermarket chains including Supervalu Inc., Safeway Inc. and Ahold NV have hired Saint Consulting Group, a specialist at fighting proposed Wal-Marts, to secretly run antidevelopment campaigns, according to hundreds of pages of Saint documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal and interviews with former employees.