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  • Costco has announced that it plans to open 17 new stores during 2003, 14 of them in the US, one in Canada, and two outside North America.

    Costco currently operates 374 stores worldwide, including 290 in the United States.

  • Dow Jones reports that Wal-Mart plans to bring its Sam’s Cub warehouse format to Canada, which it refers to as being ‘extremely underserviced” by stores of that kind. It appears that the expansion of the Sam’s format into Canada will not affect the company’s plans to open supercenters there, but rather will complement those expansion plans.

  • Reuters reports that 7-Eleven Inc. won’t open a flagship store in New York’s Times Square after all, now that real estate negotiations have fallen apart. The company says it will keep its eyes open for another Times Square location.

    Among the major retailers that have moved into Times Square lately have been Toys R Us and McDonald’s, which opened a themed store to reflect the local theatre district.

  • Reuters reports that Grant Aldonas , undersecretary of the US Department of Commerce, has charged that disagreements with the European Union about genetically modified crops are both blocking shipments of corn from the US to Europe as well as preventing food aid from the US to Africa. According to the report, countries like Zambia don’t want to take US food aid because they are concerned that they eventually won’t be able to export food to the EU. That’s long range thinking, we guess, but isn’t it more important to worry about feeding the population now as opposed to fretting about where one might be able to export food sometime in the future?

  • In France last week, farmers upset at what they described as low prices from supermarkets used bricks, cars and crates to blockade 71 food warehouses, raising concerns that French retailers would suffer a shortage of fruits and vegetables.

    According to local press reports, the European Commission has told French authorities that under EU rules, every member nation is required to have “free circulation of goods on its roads.”

  • The British Medical Association (BMA) has called for the suspension of genetically modified (GM) crop trials in Scotland. The halt was recommended as a "precautionary measure" to “safeguard public health,” and the BMA said not enough care had been taken to evaluate the impact GMOs could have on public health and agriculture.

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