The No. 3 US supermarket chain Safeway has reported net income of US$281.3m for the third quarter ended 7 September 2002, a telling decrease from the net income of $309.2m that the company posted for the third quarter of 2001, as competition from retail giant Wal-Mart takes its toll. Third-quarter 2002 comparable store sales decreased 0.7% while identical store sales (which exclude replacement stores) fell 1.4%. Safeway characterised these decreases as the result of "continued softness in the economy". Total sales increased to $8.1bn from $8.0bn in the third quarter of 2001, primarily due to new store openings.