City File: Test of pact

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When Budgens failed to buy Gateway and merge with the Scottish group William Low a few years ago, it was left as a medium-sized food retailer in a market dominated by groups with much greater buying power. To try to level the playing field, seven retailers joined forces in the Central Buying Company. Budgens' interim results, due on Tuesday, should indicate how this is working.

Profits should improve to pounds 2.2m, on the way to making at least pounds 6m for the full year. But at 44 1/2 p, the shares probably reflect most of the good news.