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Organic sales surpassed $31 billion in 2011, survey finds

BY Allison Cerra

WASHINGTON — The U.S. organic industry grew by nearly 10% to $31.5 billion in 2011, according to the Organic Trade Association’s 2012 organic industry survey.

The OTA found that the easing of the recession, consumer price inflation due to input price increases and consumers’ increasing desire for convenience products were all factors that elevated growth for the year.

Overall organic product sales saw growth of 9.5%, which continued to outpace total sales of comparable conventionally produced food and nonfood items, which experienced 4.7% growth. Breaking down the total market capture, the organic food and beverage sector was valued at $29.22 billion, while the organic nonfood sector reached $2.2 billion. Additionally, organic food sales experienced 9.4% growth in 2011 and now represent 4.2% of all U.S. food sales, up from 4% in 2010.

Looking ahead, organic food and nonfood sales will continue to sustain growth levels of 9% or higher, OTA said.

"Consumers are increasingly engaged and discerning when they shop, making decisions based on their values and awareness about health and environmental concerns," OTA executive director and CEO Christine Bushway said. "For them, it matters whether foods are genetically engineered, or produced using practices that are good for their families. Price is still an issue, but with the wide availability of private label products and many venues for organic products, they have many choices for where to shop and a variety of products from which to choose."

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Dorlisa Flur exits Family Dollar

BY Allison Cerra

MATTHEWS, N.C. — Family Dollar announced that one of its executives intends to leave the company to pursue other interests.

The company said the departure of Dorlisa Flur, vice chair of strategy and chief administrative officer, is effective May 2.

"Dorlisa has served the Company in a variety of leadership roles and has been a valued part of our team," Family Dollar chairman and CEO Howard Levine said. "Her contributions to Family Dollar’s success are greatly appreciated, and we wish her all the best in her future endeavors."

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Sam’s Club to host supplier diversity fair

BY Allison Cerra

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Sam’s Club will host a supplier fair this week in Bentonville, Ark., through the company’s supplier diversity program.

The supplier diversity fair is designed to educate female- and minority-owned companies on the Sam’s Club merchandising strategy, engage potential suppliers, strengthen relationships with diverse suppliers and identify product offerings relevant to the members that Sam’s Club serves, the retailer said. Participating suppliers must be U.S. privately held companies that are 51% owned and operated by women, minority individuals, veterans or people with disabilities. Each supplier will need to complete a questionnaire and meet the minimum requirements to determine eligibility to attend.

"Through our supplier diversity program, we can identify and provide business opportunities to the best suited suppliers who are ready to help us achieve three key objectives: to provide our members with products they want, to create jobs, and to improve the way of life in the communities we serve," Sam’s Club VP merchandise solutions Brian Graham said.

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