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REPORTERS Notebook

BY DSN STAFF

Supplier NewsAbbott has launched PediaSure NutriPals Fruit Bars, meant to help children get their needed serving of real fruit each day. The 150-calorie bars are made with one serving of real fruit in every bar and are a good source of protein, fiber and more than 20 vitamins and minerals. The NutriPals fruit bars are available in the baby/toddler aisle at most major retailers and are available in three flavors—strawberry, mixed berry and blueberry. A box of six bars retails for $5.49.

Quaker is the first cereal company to take the popularity of natural foods mainstream with its new all-natural Quaker Simple Harvest, an instant, multi-grain hot cereal.

Combining Quaker oats with whole-grain wheat and barley, each 1.5-ounce pouch contains a full serving of whole grains. Quaker Simple Harvest can be made either in the microwave or by adding boiling water. Available in three varieties—apples with cinnamon, maple brown sugar with pecans and vanilla, almond and honey—it is available at grocery stores nationwide and retails for $4.39 for a box of eight pouches.

Sun Shower has added two new flavors—nectarine cranberry and nectarine grape orange—to its growing line of 100% Nectarine juices.

The seven varieties of Sun Shower 100% Nectarine juice, which also include nectarine, nectarine berry, nectarine mango, nectarine acai and nectarine pomegranate, are high in potassium, vitamin C, antioxidants and are rich in beta carotene. Currently available in 12-ounce and 28-ounce containers, the juices are available in the produce section of major retailers.

Sumseeds recently added three flavors to its line of caffeinated and energized snack: dill pickle, honey BBQ and salt and pepper. The new flavors for the sunflower seeds, which pack an extra jolt of energy, were created over the summer using the company’s experience with developing flavors. The new flavors are available in a new 1.75-ounce personal-size bag. The original flavor is available in both the 3.5-ounce size and the new personal-size bags.

Hershey Co. unveiled four collector edition chocolate bars, featuring different images of the late Dale Earnhardt, the seven-time NASCAR champion, on its packaging for Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bars, Hershey’s Milk Chocolate with Almonds bar and Kit Kat bars.

The company will encourage consumers to make a donation to the Dale Earnhardt Foundation through an online charity event. The bars hit the market in January.

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Fred’s reports both monthly and quarterly record sales

BY Allison Cerra

MEMPHIS, Tenn. Fred’s Inc. reported record sales for the five-week and eight-month periods which ended Oct. 6, 2007.

The company said Friday that its total sales for the month increased 2 percent to $161.4 million compared to the same period last year. Total sales for the year-to-date period increased 5 percent to $1.157 billion.

Same store sales for the month rose 1 percent on top of a 5 percent increase in September last year. On a comparable store basis, sales increased 1.3 percent through the first eight months of fiscal 2007 compared with a 2.7 percent gain in the year-earlier period. Same-store sales are a key predictor of how well the company performs in stores that have been open for several years, and how well the newly open stores will do in the future.

“September sales came in at the low end of our forecasted range of a 1 percent to 3 percent increase, affected by unusually warm weather across our markets and the disruption caused by the updating of 98 stores under our refresher program,” said Fred’s Stores chief executive officer Michael J. Hayes. “We look forward to finishing our refresher program in October with the last 60 stores and to a better economic environment for our customers going forward, as the benefits of the minimum wage increase and the focus of Federal Reserve Board on the credit crunch take hold.”

Fred’s opened four stores at the end of September, bringing total store openings to 22 for the year-to-date period. These new store openings have been balanced by the company’s decision to close underperforming stores. In the remaining months, Fred’s Stores said that it plans to open 14 additional stores, with no further planned closings, which will result in a net increase in stores of 2 percent for the year.

Fred’s Inc. operates 702 discount general merchandise stores, including 24 franchised stores in the southeastern United States.

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Target to open another 61 stores nationwide

BY Allison Cerra

MINNEAPOLIS Target announced that it will be opening an additional 61 Target stores, the company said Friday.

The stores, which will all open Oct. 14, will open in 22 different states. The majority of the stores are making their debut in Arizona, California, Ohio and Texas.

In addition to offering the latest in trend-right merchandise, Target also brings a 44-year tradition of community involvement. The retail chain commits itself to local communities donating more than $3 million each week to area nonprofit organizations, becoming involved in local volunteerism efforts through Target Volunteers, and orchestrating other special projects that help meet area social service, arts and education needs.

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