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• In South Dakota, the Argus Leader reports on the secret of Hy-Vee’s success: independent management, and a sense of autonomy that allows store managers to adjust selection, quantities and prices in such a way that makes the store more compelling to local shoppers.

• The Los Angeles Times reports that Freshia, a newcomer to the region’s growing number of Korean groceries, is working to expand its appeal to non-Koreans, balancing its expansive fresh foods department with ethnic foods such as “chili pastes, sun-dried squid, marinated raw blue crabs, boiled codfish eggs, sweet rice cakes, tofu, seaweed and other Korean specialties.”

The paper suggests that moving outside a target ethnic group is somewhat unusual for ethnic grocery stores, but that Freshia perceives that there are “overlapping tastes” creating sales opportunities that it can take advantage of.

• The New York Times reports this morning Procter & Gamble is introducing a new version of its Folgers coffee – a “stomach friendly” coffee “for Americans who think they can no longer handle the hard stuff.

“Folgers is aiming the new product, called Simply Smooth, at what it estimates are the 35 million to 40 million Americans who say they have cut back on coffee consumption or eliminated it because it bothers their stomachs.”

• The Boston Globe reports this morning that self-checkout is coming to the restaurant business, as Legal Sea Foods “is introducing hand-held devices this year that let customers pay at their tables at all of its 34 stores. The move comes in response to growing concern about credit card fraud -- people don't want to lose sight of their plastic -- and as a way to cut down on the time customers wait for the bill.”

• Caribou Coffee has signed deals to distribute its packaged coffee beans in two new venues – Supervalu-owned Shaws Supermarkets, and Bed Bath & Beyond. CEO Michael Coles said in a statement that the deals would help the company expand into areas where it doesn't have stores.

Caribou, which is second to Starbucks in the gourmet café business, has 464 coffeehouses in 18 Midwest and Mid-Atlantic states, plus the District of Columbia.

• The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company (A&P) said yesterday that it has sold 6,350,000 shares of its holdings in Metro, Inc. (Montreal, Canada) for proceeds of approximately $203.5 million (US). A&P announced last week that it is acquiring Pathmark for $677.3 million.
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