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Despite store openings, Fresh & Easy reports $300 million loss

BY Allison Cerra

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Supermarket retailer Fresh & Easy, which operates stores in California, Arizona and Nevada, experienced increased losses this year, according to parent company Tesco.

The chain, which opened its doors in 2007 and has expanded its reach to include more than 165 stores to date, endured a loss of more than $300 million during the 2010-2011 financial year ended Feb. 26, its parent company reported on Tuesday.

Despite the higher losses in the 2010-2011 period, the overall Fresh & Easy business remains on track to break even toward the end of the current financial year, Tesco said.

Philip Clarke, who officially took the helm of Tesco as its CEO on March 1, said that it is working to drive more customers into Fresh & Easy stores and is confident that improvements will be seen.

"The customers that shop at Fresh & Easy absolutely love it … We just have to get more customers into the stores to appreciate it," Clarke said in a post-results interview, adding that more efforts are being put into communicating Fresh & Easy’s concept of offering high-quality food at fair prices.

Clarke also noted that despite the losses, Fresh & Easy will forge ahead with its expansion.

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Weis brings savings to Facebook fans

BY Michael Johnsen

SUNBURY, Pa. — Weis Markets’ official Facebook page is celebrating its 10,000th fan with exclusive coupon offers, the grocer announced Tuesday.

Weis Markets’ Facebook fans now are eligible for these coupons at Facebook.com/WeisSuperMarket. The coupon offers include $5 off a $50 purchase, $1 off 12-oz. Weis quality granola, $1 off 12-count Weis quality coffee solos and $1 off a Weis Five Star item.

“We’ve steadily increased the value of our fan page, which offers contests, daily healthy recipes, company updates and recall information,” Brian Holt, Weis Markets’ director of marketing said. “We plan to offer three to five new coupons every two weeks.”

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Kroger joins Diabetes Prevention and Control Alliance

BY Allison Cerra

CINCINNATI — Kroger is the latest retailer to join the Diabetes Prevention and Control Alliance as a partner.

The supermarket conglomerate will implement the DPCA’s Diabetes Control Program, which is designed to help patients gain better control of their condition, at select store pharmacies, including stores in the Cincinnati, Columbus and Dayton, Ohio, markets. The retailer also will offer the program in Atlanta, Dallas, Houston and Las Vegas later this year.

"Managing diabetes is not an easy task," said Lincoln Lutz, Kroger VP pharmacy. "But having a convenient location, such as a Kroger store, where you can get extra support and resources can make it easier. We’re proud to be a part of the alliance and look forward to contributing to its success in helping to reduce the negative impact of this disease."

In related news, Albertson’s LLC announced earlier this week that it joined the alliance, which consists of such partners as Walgreens, the YMCA, UnitedHealth Group and Novo Nordisk.

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