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• The Los Angeles Times reports that, as expected and noted earlier this week on MNB, Kroger-owned Ralphs “unveiled a lower-price policy Wednesday in what it said was a nod to beleaguered consumers struggling to pay rising food and gasoline prices. But the new plan also appears to be part of a wider business strategy to grab market share from rivals that has worked successfully for Ralphs' corporate parent in other regions.

“The chain, which operates 262 supermarkets in Southern California, said it would lower the prices of thousands of goods that its customers buy most often. Additionally, it will retool its loyalty card program so that shoppers gain points based on purchases and collect cash rebates. The grocer has also changed its double coupon program, capping the savings a shopper can garner.”

• Food Lion has launched a “Gas Guzzler Giveaway” promotion, saying it wants “to help ease customers’ financial pain at the pump and encourage them to sign up for its electronic newsletter to find out about weekly specials. Each week during the 10-week promotion, 10 subscribers to Food Lion’s Shoppers’ Companion weekly e-mail newsletter will be selected at random to be given $50 Visa gift cards, which they can use to purchase gas.”

USA Today reports that General Mills has announced that it is raising its cereal prices and may raise other prices as it sees its supply chain expenses rise nine percent in the current fiscal year.

• The Financial Times reports this morning that Carrefour plans to rebrand its Champion supermarket chain in France, recasting all of its thousand stores as Carrefour Market. The company said that a rebranding test in 13 stores led to a 10-15 percent sales increase.
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