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MillerCoors pauses plans to launch Sparks Red

BY Jenna Duncan

MILWAUKEE MillerCoors has said it will put a cap on plans to launch its caffeinated alcoholic malt beverage Sparks Red, at least for the moment, after attorneys general from 25 states and representatives from several states asked for a block on the beverage. The alcoholic energy drink will not launch Oct. 1 as previously planned, the company has said.

The group of state attorneys general, which included including Andrew Cuomo of New York and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, expressed concern that caffeine-infused alcoholic beverages such as Sparks Red targeted mainly young drinkers. Further, the group showed concern that mixing alcohol and caffeine reduced the feeling of intoxication in a drinker. A letter to MillerCoors stated a potential lawsuit if the launch of Sparks Red were not halted, MillerCoors chief executive Leo Kiely told the press.

Last week MillerCoors confirmed to media that the Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau had given approval to all previously released Sparks formulations and labels. However, the new Sparks Red was especially called into scrutiny because it would contain more alcohol—8 percent by volume—than previously released Sparks flavors, which contain between 6 percent and 7 percent by volume, sources said.

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Winn-Dixie completes 100th store remodel

BY Michael Johnsen

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. Less than 18 months after announcing a major remodel initiative for all of its 521 stores, Winn-Dixie Stores, on Thursday announced the completion of remodel No. 100.

The newest remodeled store, in the Miami suburb of Hialeah, is celebrating its grand opening today.

The Hialeah store showcases the company’s fresh and local strategic initiative—an updated storefront, combined with expanded produce and floral departments. The store’s deli and bakery were upgraded with a wood-burning rotisserie and bread warmer, a wing bar, an olive bar and a specialty dessert case. The store also features new energy-efficient refrigerators and frozen food cases as well as new wood flooring and a contemporary color palette.

“This is not only a milestone for our Company, but it also symbolizes the hard work and dedication of our associates and the loyalty of our customers,” stated Peter Lynch, Winn-Dixie’s chairman, chief executive officer and president. “It’s all about being fresh and local—from our decor to our merchandising and marketing initiatives, we are tailoring every detail of our remodeled stores to meet the needs of neighborhoods we serve. As the remodel program moves forward, we will have a significantly stronger store base from which to compete and leverage the strength of our brand. We plan to remodel half the chain by June 2010.”

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Longs to carry GE digital cameras

BY Michael Johnsen

TORRANCE, Calif. Already distributed through Walgreens, General Imaging, the worldwide exclusive licensee for GE digital cameras, may be getting a foot in the door with CVS with Thursday’s announcement that its retail camera line is to be picked up by Longs Drug beginning in October.

Under the agreement, Longs stores will stock three models—the A730 Black, the A835 Black and the A1030 Red.

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