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Dear KFool2,

Certainly IR isn't a bad idea. What follows are also quick guesses.

Note that Safeway is digesting several purchases, most notably the Randall's acquisition. This was accounted for as a purchase, which means that A/R and inventory from the two companies will merge, but income is only counted from the date of the acquisition (i.e. in the case of the Randall's acquisition, since Sept. 99). So including 4 months sales/income but the entire A/R and inventory will make inventory and A/R jump more than sales. You probably should check if this effect still takes place if a whole year of sales is included.

Even without accounting for the above distortion, it looks to me that the amount of A/R is very small, only about 1% of sales (i.e. 3-4 days worth of sales). This could simply be people who pay with cheques (perhaps the average safeway deposits cheques only once per week). Also, sometimes companies don't bill immediately their credit cards (seems kind of weird actually, since every place I know of runs a credit card through the reader immediately; but I have noticed on my statements bills sometimes on different days than I charged them).

Best,

Lleweilun Smith
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