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Stop & Shop raises funds for tornado victims in Massachusetts

BY Allison Cerra

QUINCY, Mass. — Stop & Shop has commenced a fundraising campaign to benefit victims of the recent tornadoes in Massachusetts.

The retailer said that 100% of the donations from the campaign, which will run from Friday through July 4, will go directly to the American Red Cross of central and western Massachusetts.

"Stop & Shop wants to help, and our customers have also asked how they can help. The devastation in this area has impacted both our customers and associates," said Mark McGowan, New England division president of Stop & Shop. "We’re pleased to be able to provide this campaign in our stores to support the American Red Cross, an organization that works tirelessly to help those who need it most during this difficult time."

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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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