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• Unified Grocers announced that it has reached an agreement with Sacramento-based grocery chain Raley's "to take over its General Merchandise/Health, Beauty andWellness operations. The agreement includes leasing the Raley's warehouse in Stockton. Unified will become Raley's third-party provider for GM and HBW products.

"Under the terms of the agreement, Unified has hired all the employees who work in the facility."


• The Orlando Sentinel reports that mainstream grocers in Central Florida such as Publix and Winn-Dixie are engaged in remodels "to showcase fresh produce, prepared meals and cooking stations — all to battle the likes of specialty grocers Whole Foods and The Fresh Market as shoppers demand more from their neighborhood stores." And, at the same time, specialty grocers have been busy in Central Florida, "mostly adding stores. Whole Foods began construction on a new store in Altamonte Springs, its third in Central Florida, although the company has not given a completion date."


• The Detroit Free Press reports that Grand Rapids-based Meijer "is trying to dress up its apparel — and aims to sell more clothing and shoes to its shoppers. The company's desire to sell more clothing is driven by (the) belief that there is unrealized potential in it, especially as fashion styles become more casual and shoppers, more cost-conscious. It also in the longer term is a strategy to help it compete."

"We are serious about having trend-right fashion at a great price," says Lynn Hempe, Meijer's group vice president of softlines. "Over the years, we've done a lot to update the product and to move the styles and assortment forward into more of a fashion cycle."
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