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Wegmans commits to maintaining prices amid rising food costs

BY Allison Cerra

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Escalating food costs may have a firm grip on consumers’ wallets, but one retailer is promising "to keep prices low and [its] quality and service high."

Wegmans this week said that it will not change the prices on 40 of the products most important to families through the end of 2011. According to the company’s website, many of the items listed include store-brand products and produce. Wegmans also noted that, counting different varieties and sizes, about 200 items are covered by the company’s price pledge.

"We hope this — plus more low prices and great Wegmans-brand items throughout the store — will help you and your family make great meals easy, healthy and affordable," the company said.

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Survey: Docs aren’t telling obese patients to lose weight

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — A new Harris Poll published Tuesday suggested that many doctors are doing little or nothing to help their overweight patients to lose weight.

Using classifications defined by the World Health Organization, 19% of those who are morbidly obese (with a body mass index of 35 or greater), 46% of those who are obese (BMI of between 30 and 34) and 72% who are overweight but not obese (BMI of between 25 and 29), said that their doctors have never told them to lose weight.

Many of these people clearly recognize that they should lose weight and have made a New Year’s resolution to do so, including 62% of the morbidly obese, 59% of the obese and 49% of the overweight.

Many of those who are overweight have participated at some time in their lives in programs to try to manage their weight. In most cases, these were their own personal programs, rather than formal programs run by such weight-loss companies as Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig, or programs by their employers or insurance companies. However it is notable that 19% of the morbidly obese, 27% of the obese and 31% of the overweight have never participated in any weight-management program, even one of their own.

These are some of the results of the Harris Poll of 2,566 adults surveyed online between Jan. 17 and 24, by Harris Interactive.

Some other findings in this survey include:

  • 44% of all adults said that they made a New Year’s resolution to lose weight, including 47% of women and 40% of men;

  • One-in-5 adults (19%) reported that their weight has caused them health problems, including 64% of the morbidly obese and 23% of the obese; and

  • Only one-third of all adults (32%) have been told by their doctors that they should lose weight.

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Walmart to refocus on U.S. unit as sales decline

BY Allison Cerra

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Despite gains in its international sector, Walmart experienced its seventh straight quarterly sales decline in its U.S. stores division for the period ended Jan. 31.

Walmart said although sales at its international stores rose 27%, its U.S. store sales fell short of its own projections for the holiday period. Sales at U.S. Walmart stores fell 0.5% to $71.1 billion, and were down 1.8% on a comparable-store basis, the company said.

Looking ahead, Walmart said it plans to focus on everyday low prices, feature the broadest assortment possible, remodel Walmart stores and focus on multichannel selling to boost U.S. sales. Walmart president and CEO Mike Duke also noted the chain would move forward "with even greater urgency in opening small stores."

"Some of the pricing and merchandising issues in Walmart ran deeper than we initially expected, and they require a response that will take time to see results," Duke said.

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