retail news in context, analysis with attitude

• The Richmond Times Dispatch reports that Ahold-owned Martin's Food Markets “will introduce a new gasoline program, longer store hours and a Bonuscards loyalty-card program in the next several weeks as the chain transform the Ukrop's stores to its own nameplate. The changes, some of which were announced in a letter to customers, will take place during the next six weeks.”

• Sprouts Farmers Market, which seems to be carving out a strong niche by offering what it calls “right-from-the-earth foods at down-to-earth prices,” opened its third San Diego location yesterday. The company now has a total of 12 California stores, and also has units in Arizona,Texas and Colorado.

• The Vancouver Sun reports that the Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors has offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of people responsible for known instances of food tampering. According to the story, Safeway said this week that “it had seen a case of metal objects inserted into their food.”
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