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Bloomberg reports that Supervalu is “moving their opening hours, adding products and revamping merchandise assortments as persistent joblessness pushes more shoppers to government support in buying groceries ... (its) Save-A-Lot chain opens some supermarkets at midnight, when government benefits are loaded onto food-stamp cards, and promotes higher-priced bulk items early in the month. The chain switches to smaller sizes later as money dwindles and customers make fill-in purchases.”

“What we’re learning how to do is to merchandise to those events,” CEO Craig Herkert tells Bloomberg. “You have to learn, market by market, when is that, and you have to merchandise to it, and in some cases, run your stores to it.”

The story notes that “distributions from the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program rose 11 percent to a record $71.8 billion in fiscal 2011.”

Supervalu isn’t the only the company, according to the story:

• “Walmart adjusts staffing at midnight when benefits cards are loaded and makes sure stores are well stocked in produce and canned goods.”

• Family Dollar “finished overhauling its checkout systems to accept food stamps in 2010.”
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