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We wrote yesterday of reports that Spartan Stores was considering try to sell all or part of its Food Town retail supermarkets. Later in the day, Spartan chairman, president and CEO James B. Meyer sent the following email to all of the company's associates:

    "In an effort to keep you apprised of our business developments, we are announcing today that we are working with an investment banking firm specializing in the food industry to explore alternative strategies related to our Food Town supermarkets. As you are aware, we continue to face significant challenges in our northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan retail grocery operations. We are considering a number of options intended to more rapidly return our overall retail operations to profitability. We are hopeful the outcome of this exploration process will occur by the end of the fiscal year. Pharm operations are not part of this review process.

    "In a separate issue, we are also announcing the planned closing of our Ohio distribution operations. This plan is part of our continuing efforts to reduce operating costs and improve the operational efficiency of our distribution business segment. The plan calls for all products and services currently provided from the two Ohio facilities to be consolidated into warehouses located in Grand Rapids and Plymouth, Michigan by the end of the fiscal year in March. We expect the transition to be smooth with no disruption in service to our stores.

    "As I shared with you in our recent associate forums, Spartan Stores is working diligently to strengthen our financial position, and will continue to look at appropriate strategies to improve operating performance and adjust our cost structure so that it is more in line with our business activity.

    "Lastly, your painstaking efforts and dedication during this transitional period have not gone unnoticed. I would like to personally thank each of you for your dedication and I believe that your continued support and hard work will play an instrumental role in establishing Spartan Stores as a leading retail grocery and distribution business. We will continue to provide you with additional business development updates as they occur."
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