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• The National Retail Federation (NRF) is out with a study suggesting that "with the election falling in the middle of holiday shopping, as of mid-October many U.S. consumers say they will have a more conservative holiday spending budget this year ... consumers plan to spend an average of $935.58 during the holiday shopping season."

• The Associated Press reports that the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) "has approved commercial planting of two types of potatoes that are genetically engineered to resist the pathogen that caused the Irish potato famine ... The company says the potatoes will also have reduced bruising and black spots, enhanced storage capacity, and a reduced amount of a chemical created when potatoes are cooked at high temperatures that's a potential carcinogen."

The potatoes are called the Ranger Russet and Atlantic varieties, and are produced by JR Simplot.

According to the story, this approval does not mean Americans will soon be eating the GM potatoes. "The potatoes next must clear a voluntary review process through the Food and Drug Administration as well as get the OK from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The company says it expects those approvals in January with the potatoes entering the market next spring."

• The South Bend Tribune reports that Martin's Super Markets has opened its first convenience store - a foodservice-oriented unit that "offers a range of ready-to-eat hot and cold items, fresh sandwiches, wraps and salads" - in South Bend, Indiana.

The store is said to be part of an ongoing project to build a new full-service store to replace a current store on Western Avenue there.

According to the story, "This is the second store the local grocery chain has opened that differs from its traditional full-service stores. Martin's opened a 26,000-square-foot store in Goshen in May 2015, a location about half the size of the company's usual stores and one that has a more neighborhood grocer feel to it. Opening the new formats are part of Martin's exploring new ways to serve customers."
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