retail news in context, analysis with attitude

• Publix Super Markets said yesterday that since 2007, when it began a variety of initiatives to reduce the use of paper and plastic disposable bags at checkout, it has saved more than a billion such bags. The efforts have included recycling and the promotion of reusable cloth bags.

• Drugstore chain RiteAid said yesterday that it will begin selling groceries in 10 of its South Carolina stores, as part of a test of new deal with Supervalu. The licensed stores will be owned by Rite Aid, but will be called Save-A-Lot Food Stores/Rite Aid Pharmacy - as both Rite Aid and Supervalu look for ways to expand their presence and grow their sales.

Rite Aid said that it is trying to customize stores for appropriate markets, and that success with the new format will not necessarily lead to a national roll out of the format.

• The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned the manufacturers of both Canada Dry ginger ale and Lipton tea about what the federal agency says is the making of unsubstantiated health claims for green tea-flavored products.

The FDA told Canada Dry that it should not be making claims about antioxidants, and Lipton that it should not be mentioning cholesterol-lowering studies on the label. The manufacturers now have 15 days to respond to the warnings.

• Procter & Gamble has announced that it will begin compressing all of its powdered laundry detergents sold in the US and Canada, effective February 2011. The move will allow P&G to use smaller cartons for detergents that will clean the same number of loads as the larger boxes, thus saving on packaging and reducing fuel used in the transport of product.
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