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• The Fresh Grocer, an eight-store independent supermarket chain operating in Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey, has announced that it will be joining Wakefern Food Corp. as its 50th cooperative member.

Upon joining Wakefern, The Fresh Grocer location in Drexel Hill, Pa., will transition completely to the ShopRite banner while the seven additional locations will remain Fresh Grocer stores. Wakefern will now own The Fresh Grocer trademark.

• The back-to-school selling season has begun to roll, and CNN reports that 17 states are greasing the wheels, offering shoppers tax breaks of between four and seven percent on back-to-school related purchases of items that include apparel, shoes, supplies and electronics.

The story goes on to say that the savings "could come in handy. Economic uncertainty, unemployment and a recent surge in gas prices are forcing parents to focus on necessities this school year, says Matthew Shay, chief executive of the National Retail Federation. Still, families with school-aged children are expected to spend an average of $635 ... during this year's back-to-school shopping season, down from $688 last year, the industry trade group found."

• The New York Times reports that "former Apple store employees in New York and Los Angeles have filed a class-action lawsuit charging that they were forced to wait in line for 30 minutes a shift for their bags to be searched for stolen goods. They say that they are not paid for the time standing in line, which amounts to $1,500 a year. The suit ... was filed in the Federal District Court in the Northern District of California."

The story notes that "Apple’s retail stores take in more money per square foot than any other United States retailer. But employees in Apple’s retail stores enjoy little of that wealth, the majority of them earning about $25,000 a year."

• The Chicago Tribune reports that "Target Corp is testing a baby section with trained staff at 10 Illinois stores in a push to gain a bigger share of the shrinking but highly competitive market for baby gear ... The Target test stores feature the same products, but the redesigned baby areas will operate a bit more like specialty shops, with trained staff members assisting shoppers."
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