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Kroger EVP Don Becker dies

BY Allison Cerra

CINCINNATI — Supermarket giant Kroger announced company EVP Don Becker died Wednesday after suffering an aneurysm. He was 62 years old.

Becker had a 42-year career at Kroger, joining in 1969 as a clerk in the Cincinnati/Dayton division. In his most recent role as the retailer’s EVP, a position he held since 2004, Becker led the company’s merchandising and procurement for grocery, perishables, drug/general merchandise and pharmacy. He also had responsibility for advertising, consumer research and customer loyalty, manufacturing and corporate brands, customer insights and strategy, supply chain and supplier diversity. Kroger’s Cincinnati/Dayton division and the company’s retail clinic operator, The Little Clinic, reported to Becker.

During his career at Kroger, Becker also served as co-chair of Kroger’s first general office cultural council.

"We are deeply saddened to lose Don, our dear friend and extraordinary leader," said David Dillon, Kroger’s chairman and CEO. "Don leaves a legacy of enthusiasm and passion for doing what’s right for our customers and our associates. He touched the lives of countless people in our company, as well as throughout our industry and community. He was a true ‘people person’ who mentored many associates at every level of our business."

Becker is survived by his wife, daughter, son-in-law and grandson.

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Fresh & Easy touts more GreenChill stores than any other retailer

BY Allison Cerra

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Supermarket retailer Fresh & Easy has added four more GreenChill-certified stores this year, a distinction developed by the Environmental Protection Agency’s GreenChill Partnership.

The company, which has stores in California, Arizona and Nevada, now has the most GreenChill-certified stores than any other retailer in the nation. Fresh & Easy opened its first GreenChill store in September 2010.

"We’ve worked hard to be thoughtful on the impact we have on the environment, and we’re excited to continue to innovate in this area," said Fresh & Easy CEO Tim Mason. "On average, our stores use 30% less energy than a typical supermarket, which not only helps the environment but also keeps our prices low so our customers can continue to save money."

EPA’s GreenChill Partnership works with food retailers to reduce refrigerant emissions and decrease their impact on the ozone layer and climate change.

"The fact that Fresh & Easy has received the most GreenChill awards for its stores in the nation speaks volumes for the company’s environmental commitment," said Keilly Witman, EPA’s GreenChill Partnership manager. "We’re happy to continue working with Fresh & Easy on bringing even more of its stores into the GreenChill program."

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Kroger extends partnership with USO

BY Michael Johnsen

CINCINNATI — Kroger said it is kicking off a year-long initiative to raise funds for armed forces members in partnership with the USO, the leading organization for morale-boosting programs and services for American troops and their families.

Kroger said the campaign will include in-store and online promotions and a text-to-give campaign that encourages Kroger customers to text "USO" to 27722 during the race to donate $10 to USO programs.

The campaign launch is in line with the retailer’s Daytona 500 celebration, which will be held Sunday. In addition, Kroger will present a $400,000 donation to the USO on Sunday, a set of funds that were collected in 2010 from customers and associates at nearly 1,300 Kroger-operated supermarkets nationwide.

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