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Bits and Pieces

March 31, 2009
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  • Going once, going twice. At a time of great economizing, at least some consumers are bidding on groceries at auctions. A March 24 Associated Press story said grocery auctions that offer up leftover or damaged dry goods and frozen foods from grocery stores, restaurants and distributors are picking up steam.
  • Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Bentonville, Ark., announced the launch of a home furnishings collection for teens, available in stores and through the website Walmart.com. The line, dubbed Your Zone, includes bedding and furnishings “designed to be versatile and interactive,” with price points starting at $12 for sheet sets.
  • Sam’s Club, Bentonville, Ark., said it added a second Fair Trade Certified wine, Solombra Reserva, to its stores. The wine is produced and bottled in Argentina and sold in Merlot and Pinot Grigio varieties. Other varietals, including a Cabernet Sauvignon, are expected to follow.
  • In other wine news, Salisbury, N.C.-based Bloom announced that it is offering a new house brand wine. Bloom’s line of Matthew Fox wines - selling for $3.99 a bottle - is available in stores this month.
  • Rite Aid Corp., Camp Hill, Pa., introduced its own five-blade shaving system, a launch the company attributes to rising consumer interest in its private brand products. The $6.99 M5 Magnum shaving system is available in nearly 5,000 Rite Aid stores, according to the company.
  • Publix Super Markets, Lakeland, Fla., informed customers that it has lowered prices of several of its store brand items, including orange juice, whole chicken, milk and yogurt. In addition, the store again is running a special promotion in which shoppers who buy select national brand products get the Publix brand counterpart free.
  • The Kroger Co., Cincinnati, said it added new products to its Private Selection line of fresh meat, including a USDA Choice Private Selection Angus and natural and organic cuts of beef and chicken.
  • The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company (A&P), based in Montvale, N.J., announced an expansion of its private label program. The America’s Choice brand from A&P now will include more than 2,500 food and grocery products and, within that offering, 10 premium, specialty and national-brand-equivalent brands.
  • Minneapolis-based Supervalu Inc. introduced “Simply Good Meals” meal stations in more than 1,300 of its stores around the country. The stations, which also come with instructions, boast items a shopper needs to make a certain meal - usually for less than $15 and in less than 15 minutes. According to the company, typical Simply Good meals include ready-to-heat beef roast, potatoes and a salad and lasagna, salad and French baguette.
  • BI-LO LLC, Maudlin, S.C., said it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last week. However, the company assured customers it would remain open and operate without interruption throughout the court-supervised process.

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