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  • reports this morning that Smart & Final CEO Ross Roeder has said that the company may bring its non-membership warehouse format to the northeast US sometime in the next two or three years, though he also said that there remains “room to grow” in its west coast markets.

  • The UK’s William Morrison Supermarkets has agreed to sell 10 of the Safeway Plc stores that it acquired earlier this year to Tesco for the equivalent of $157 million (US).

  • Still trying to recover sales and market share in the Netherlands in the wake of its accounting scandal, Ahold’s Albert Heijn division announced a new round of price cuts, trimming between five and 25 percent on about 1,000 private label products.

  • Fast food chain Jack in the Box has announced that it may open as many as 300 JBX units – stores that offer healthier food than its traditional outlets, in a so-called “fast-casual” setting – over the next five years, with expectations that the JBX concept will account for as much as 15 percent of its fleet.

  • The Wall Street Journal reports that the University of Michigan's preliminary report on consumer sentiment for September is down to 95.8, from 95.9 in August and 96.7 in July.

  • The Washington Post this morning reports that, frustrated with the low price of potatoes, a Maine farmer has decided to start producing small batches of vodka that he believes can be sold at a premium price.

    It would be Maine's first commercial distillery. In addition, the Post notes, “there's thought to be only one distillery in the United States that currently makes vodka from potatoes,” in Rigby, Idaho, where Silver Creek Distillers produces the Teton Glacier, Blue Ice and Zodiac brands.

  • When R. Michael Mondavi resigned last week as a vice chairman of Robert Mondavi Corp., he was awarded a severance payment of $1.5 million – plus up to 50 cases of any wine he wants from the Mondavi cellars.

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