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Meijer to overhaul Mich., Ohio stores with $75 million investment

BY Allison Cerra

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A Midwest retailer announced it would invest $75 million in a major remodel project that would benefit stores in two states.

Meijer said 10 stores in Michigan and Ohio would benefit from the initiative. The retailer projected that the remodeling program would be completed by the end of the year.

As part of the remodel project, Meijer will roll out specific enhancements both inside and outside the store, including lighting, heating, refrigeration, exterior lighting and parking lot maintenance. Additionally, the introduction of newer technology in key areas during the remodel process will result in reduced energy usage and more energy-efficient stores.

"We are pleased to reinforce our commitment to these communities," said Hank Meijer, co-chairman and CEO of Meijer. "Our customers expect high standards from us, and our investment in these stores will ensure they continue to receive our best."

In related news, Meijer also will invest $25 million to open two new stores this year. These include a 192,000-sq.-ft. supercenter in Stevensville, Mich., and Meijer’s third small-format store, which will be located in the Chicago suburb of Melrose Park.

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Seventh Generation revolutionizes laundry category

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK — Seventh Generation has developed an ultra-concentrated liquid laundry detergent that is available in a 100%-compostable bottle.

The company said the entire packaging system (fiber bottle, pouch, spout, cap) for its Natural 4x laundry detergent uses 66% less plastic than a typical 100-oz. 2x laundry bottle. Seventh Generation’s Natural 4x laundry detergent — a nontoxic, biodegradable formula — is available in a 50-oz. (66 loads) size and two scents: Free and Clear, and Geranium Blossoms and Vanilla.

In related news, Seventh Generation also introduced a natural hand wash, available in fresh citrus and just clean varieties, which are purely plant-derived cleansers, the company said. The packaging for the product is made of 80% post-consumer recycled plastic.

Seventh Generation products are available at retailers nationwide. For a store nearest you, visit SeventhGeneration.com’s "where to buy" page.

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Recognizing the value of a dollar store

BY DSN STAFF

CITY OF COMMERCE, Calif. — First it was Family Dollar; now 99 Cents Only Stores finds itself in buyout talks, as investors are seeing the value in discount store chains.

The company has received a proposal to take the company private from the company’s founding family and investment firm Leonard Green & Partners for $19.09 per share, the Associated Press reported. The offer would value the company at about $1.3 billion. According to 99 Cents, the purchasers would include the Schiffer-Gold family, which owns about 33% of its outstanding stock. David Gold is company founder and chairman, and his son-in-law Eric Schiffer is CEO.

In a letter sent to the company, the family indicated that it is ready to contribute a "substantial portion" of its existing stock ownership as part of the proposed acquisition. The letter also said the family has not made any commitment of exclusivity with Leonard Green related to the proposal.

99 Cents said its board has yet to evaluate the proposal and that there is no guarantee a definitive offer will be made.

The Commerce, Calif., company said it expects to create a special committee comprised of independent board members to assess the bid.

Leonard Green has been active in the retail space of late. It was part of the $3 billion J. Crew buyout, along with TPG Capital, that closed on Monday. It also has offered $1.6 billion for Jo-Ann Stores and reportedly has expressed interest in BJ’s Wholesale Club.

Last month, Family Dollar Stores received a buyout offer from a New York hedge fund at $55 to $60 per share, a 36% premium over yesterday’s closing price. The offer, which values the company at up to $7.6 billion, was made by Trian Group, which is headed by activist investor Nelson Peltz.

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