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Frito-Lay uses online contest to find inspirational stories for new TrueNorth ad campaign

BY Melissa Valliant

PLANO, Texas Frito-Lay is asking for the help of inspirational individuals to fill a TV ad spot during this year’s 81st Annual Academy Awards with a story about their life’s passion. The 60-second ad spot, airing Feb. 22, 2009, will mark the beginning of a national, multimedia ad campaign for Frito-Lay’s TrueNorth nut snacks and will be directed by Oscar-winning actress Helen Hunt.

TrueNorth will be the only advertiser in the snack category during the awards show, and the contest spot will be one of several of TrueNorth’s to air during the pre-show, as well as the show itself. TrueNorth has already found three inspirational stories that it will promote online and in print as part of its new campaign.

Essays can be submitted now through Dec. 31 at www.truenorthsnacks.com/story. 

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Supervalu boosting brand image with national campaign

BY Jenna Duncan

MINNEAPOLIS Supervalu’s leadership is preparing to take the company’s branding in a new direction, Supervalu chief executive officer Jeff Noddle said Tuesday in his keynote speech at the Morgan Stanley Global Consumer and Retail Conference.

The company is putting emphasis on its affordable grocery items and easy to find locations with a new tagline: “Just around the corner.” The new tag has been launched in a campaign including national ads, direct mailings and direct-to-consumer circulars. 

Supervalu has said that later this year more of the “just around the corner” buzz will be released via TV and radio ads and billboard.

The grocery giant has also said that it is dedicating more energy to speedy checkout and overall cleanliness and quality in each of its stores. There is also a push towards updating store technology. Noddle also said that his company is expanding its offerings to new communities with new store formats, such as the smaller, market-like Urban Fresh by Jewel store recently opened in the Chicago market.

Noddle also told the crowd at his keynote speech that Supervalu’s capital spending  for the next year will range between $1.2 and $1.3 billion range. Most of the monies will be directed toward store capital, he said, as well as rebuild and remodeling projects.  

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Ahold reports results for 3Q 2008

BY Jenna Duncan

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands Ahold, a company that owns and operates hundreds of supermarkets in the United States as well as Europe under Stop & Shop, Peapod, Giant-Landover grocery brand banners, has reported its earnings for the third quarter 2008.

Ahold reported earnings of 7.6 percent for the quarter. Ahold reported that its operating costs total 262 million euros ($327.9 million U.S. dollars), up 26 million (EU), or about 10 percent.

Ahold reported its net income totaled 195 million EU (U.S. $244 million.), which was down 19 million EU (U.S. $23.8 million), or about 10 percent.

“We delivered a solid performance in our third quarter. I was particularly pleased with the increase in identical sales at Stop & Shop and Giant-Landover as a result of the actions we have taken under the Value Improvement Program over the last two years,” Ahold chief executive officer John Rishton said. “The company has a healthy balance sheet and is well-positioned to offer value to our customers in the current economic environment. The price investments made in recent years have strengthened the competitive position of all our banners, but we remain vigilant and will respond to changes in consumer and competitor behavior. 

“Underlying retail operating margin guidance for the year remains unchanged at 4.8 percent- 5.3 percent.” 

The company also said that same store sales at Stop & Shop and Giant-Landover stores had improved. And that underlying retail operating margin guidance for the period remained the same.

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