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• The Associated Press reports that Target “plans to remodel about 400 of its general merchandise stores across the nation in 2011, building upon the discounter’s latest strategy to bulk up its grocery offerings. That’s on top of the 350 general merchandise stores in the nation that Target remodeled last year in rolling out its ‘P Fresh’ concept, which typically increased its grocery offerings by 40 percent.

“At the same time, Target, which has about 1,750 stores in the nation, has scaled back new-store construction. The company was to open about a dozen new stores last year and anticipates opening 21 new stores in 2011, including one SuperTarget.”

• The Wall Street Journal reports that “Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc., which owns Hawaiian Punch, is giving the fruity drink's iconic mascot a 21st-century facelift with new computer-generated design. Punchy's new three-dimensional surfer look, to be featured on packaging now being shipped and in Internet campaigns starting in February, will try to appeal more to the drink's target audience of 13-year-olds, who have grown up watching cartoons like Pixar Animation Studio's ‘Toy Story’.”

• The Business Courier reports that “Kroger Co. is evaluating a new self-checkout technology from Fujitsu that it says reduces checkout times, improves customer experience and reduces operational costs.” The system is being tested in a select number of stores, according to the story, and reportedly “has product identification rates of more than 98 percent and recognizes stacked items and side-by-side items even if barcodes are hidden.”

CNBC reports that “food safety scientists are looking for faster ways to detect salmonella, E. coli, listeria and other pathogens within hours or minutes instead of days.

“The goal is to catch contaminated food before it leaves a processing facility, thereby averting costly recalls. It also could mean a longer shelf life for products, if companies don't have to wait as long for tests to show that food is safe before shipping it.

• Price Chopper Supermarkets announced its pending merger with Apple Community Pharmacy, located at 3 Hemphill Place in Malta, NY. The two family businesses will officially merge on January 15th, 2011, at which time Apple Pharmacy’s current owner, Robert Russell RPh, and his entire staff of 15, will become a part of the Price Chopper team.

Bloomberg reports that the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. (A&P) “won approval of an $800 million loan over objections from bondholders who questioned the role of Yucaipa Cos. LLC.” which is one of the company’s largest shareholders.

“U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Drain in White Plains, New York ... approved the loan after changes that set aside as much as $175,000 per month in legal fees for a trustee to certain notes.”
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