Arden Group and Ingles Markets are exploring strategic options amid increased merger-and-acquisition activity in food retailing. North American M&A has reached $9.3 billion this year, driven by Kroger's plan to purchase Harris Teeter Supermarkets, up from $702 million for all of 2012. Supermarkets are turning to M&A to boost revenue and stay competitive against large discount retailers, such as Wal-Mart Stores, Wolfe Research says.

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