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Retail chiefs gather to discuss food deserts with Chicago mayor

BY Alaric DeArment

CHICAGO — The Windy City’s problem with food deserts is getting attention from the city’s mayor and some of the country’s top retailers, according to published reports.

ABC reported Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel held a summit with CEOs from Walgreens, Walmart, Aldi, Roundy’s and the companies that operate the Jewel and Dominick’s chains. During the summit, Emanuel offered incentives for the companies to build stores in the food deserts, which are low-income neighborhoods that lack large supermarkets, thus making residents unable to obtain fresh fruits and vegetables.

Walgreens already has built several stores in Chicago that offer expanded fresh food options as a way of addressing the food desert problem, including at least one store that has 40% of its retail space dedicated to food. Walmart also has built Walmart Express stores in Chicago food-desert neighborhoods, including West Englewood.

What’s more, Walgreens also has sought to expand its fresh-food store concept. CEO Greg Wasson said at a shareholders meeting earlier this year that the company may expand its fresh food centers to 400 or more stores over the next several years, and the company announced in May that it would test-market stores with healthy food options at 30 locations in San Francisco.

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Supervalu puts emphasis on private label with Essential Everyday rollout

BY Antoinette Alexander

CHICAGO — The private-label trend at retail continues to gain steam as Supervalu CEO Craig Herkert shared plans last month at the company’s annual shareholders meeting to expand Supervalu’s private-label program now through February 2012.

In discussing its private-brands program, Herkert said that the company expects to deliver a 100-basis point annual improvement in private-brand sales per year over the next three years. As part of its plans, the company announced that it intends to move to a new single national brand-equivalent private brand — Essential Everyday — to replace existing banner-branded products.

With the introduction of the Essential Everyday brand, which will roll out in phases, the company expects to realize savings through packaging and taking a more national approach to advertising and promotions.

Supervalu also plans to expand its Shoppers Value entry price-point private-brand line and will be launching or relaunching 80 new items in the coming months.

Sam Mayberry, VP private brands for Supervalu, told the Chicago Tribune that 94% of the company’s shoppers buy private-label items sometimes, while 20% always do. Regular purchasers, he said, "rely on private brands to make ends meet."

One of Supervalu’s long-term goals is the national expansion of its Save-A-Lot banner, and during the shareholder meeting, the company also announced the addition of the Save-A-Lot Today brand to its private-label program. The new Save-A-Lot Today brand is an opening price-point line with most products priced under $1.

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Woolite’s campaign shows consumers how to take horror out of washing clothes

BY Allison Cerra

PARSIPPANY, N.J. — Laundry detergent brand Woolite is highlighting the horror of dirty clothes in its latest campaign.

The brand, owned by Reckitt Benckiser, has tapped horror film director and heavy metal musician Rob Zombie to direct a TV ad for its campaign, "The Torturer," which shows consumers how Woolite can "save clothes from torture" by effectively washing clothes, while caring for all types of clothes, the company said. The ad, which premiered Thursday on Woolite’s Facebook page, also will make its debut in movie theaters and on television next month.

"We want consumers to see Woolite as they’ve never seen it before and to realize it’s not just for delicates — all of their clothes deserve to be cleaned with care," said Jiri Kulik, general manager of U.S. household marketing at Reckitt Benckiser. "Our goal is to show consumers that other detergents may be ‘torturing’ their wardrobe by leaving dimensional changes like shrinking or fading all in a bold, eye-opening manner. Reckitt Benckiser is known for encouraging innovation and thinking outside the box to change the competitive landscape, which is exactly what we’ve done here."

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