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  • The Arizona Republic reports that new draft guidelines are being published by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that encourage “voluntary safety evaluations of bioengineered food crops that sometimes drift and cross-pollinate with plants in nearby fields.”

    While the biotech industry endorses the approach, consumer advocates and environmental activists prefer enforced and rigorous testing and call the FDA approach a “band-aid.”

  • The Washington Post reports that as Toys R Us prepared to compete this holiday season – in what could be its final holiday season as a toy retailer if things don’t go well – it “is betting its survival on the proposition that not all consumers are happy fending for themselves amid a glut of stuff and that when it comes to toys, even diehard bargain hunters want the right item, not just the cheapest one.”

    The Post reports that “Toys R Us has spent the past year systematically changing just about everything it does. The company is coaching employees to spend more time with customers, making toys easier to find with bigger displays and color-coded store maps, and even pressing manufacturers for exclusive rights to hot items such as the Barbie Fantasy Tales collection -- which it got.”

    "To succeed, we have to bring more to the party than low prices," Toys R Us vice president of in-store marketing Greg Ahearn tells the Post.

  • The Wall Street Journal this morning reports that “retailers such as Guess Inc., Staples Inc., Sports Authority Inc., and Limited Brands Inc. are among those using software called Verify-1” that “helps retailers decide whether to deny returns or exchanges using a program that monitors a shopper's track record of bringing items back.”

    The goal is to solve the problem of so-called “serial exchangers” who abuse return and exchange policies.

  • reports that Germany-based Aldi plans to spend the equivalent of almost $900 million (US) to almost double the number of stores it has in the US from 278 to 450 within the next five years…and that the company has along-term goal to expand its UK fleet to 1,500 units.

  • There are reports in the British media that Marks & Spencer plans to sell half of its Simply Food convenience stores, saying that the division is poorly performing.

  • UK retailer Tesco reportedly is launching a private label line called Carb Control that will be made up of some 180 items.

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