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Walmart to cut grocery prices by $1 billion

BY Katherine Field Boccaccio

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart said Thursday it will reduce prices on groceries by $1 billion in 2012, in hopes to draw customers in and encourage them to cross-shop in other areas of the store.

Walmart had $145 billion in grocery sales last year in the United States, making it the largest player in terms of domestic grocery sales. It says the price reductions in food and consumables are an investment and won’t impact margins ,especially if shoppers respond as planned with additional traffic and loyalty.

Chief merchandising officer Duncan Mac Naughton described the program at an industry conference, and said that some key momentum is building inside Walmart U.S., referring to the recent sales turnaround trends.

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Meijer acquires Michigan dairy

BY Alaric DeArment

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Mass merchandise chain Meijer has acquired a Michigan-based dairy, the company said.

Meijer announced the purchase of Bareman’s Dairy, a family-owned company based in Holland, Mich., and the intention of investing more than $8 million into expansion of the plant.

"This is an exciting day for our company," Meijer co-chairman and CEO Hank Meijer said. "As Meijer continues to grow, it’s crucial we invest in the operations that will help us keep our promise of higher standards and lower prices to our customers. Expanding into dairy operations will do just that."

The company also announced the creation of the Purple Cow Creamery, which will supply white and chocolate milk to Meijer’s stores in Michigan. Meijer said that while it would be several months before it started shipping milk products to Meijer stores, the chain would assume ownership of dairy plant operations starting on Monday, and Carlinville, Ill.-based Prairie Farms Dairy would acquire the Bareman’s Dairy brand and the dairy’s distribution centers.

"The creation of the Purple Cow Creamery is an important step forward as we continue to expand our manufacturing operations," Meijer EVP supply chain and manufacturing Rick Keyes said. "Producing our own Meijer brand milk allows us to continue to focus on keeping our prices low for our customers while also reducing the number of food miles for a very important product."

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Doritos Dinamita makes debut

BY Allison Cerra

PLANO, Texas — A spicier version of Doritos is making its debut.

Doritos Dinamita, a tortilla chip rolled into a taquito-like shape, is aimed at consumers looking to add a touch of spice to their snacking, the company said. Initially introduced in February in select markets in the Midwest, Texas and the western United States, the new product offering will be available at Walmart locations nationwide in Chile Limon and Nacho Picoso flavors.

"We wanted to transform the bold taste of Doritos tortilla chips into a snack that captures the exciting essence of Hispanic snack foods through the shape and flavors you would find in Latin American cuisine," Frito-Lay North America VP marketing Ram Krishnan said. "The Doritos Dinamita product line truly accomplishes that, offering consumers everything they love about traditional Doritos tortilla chips, but with a spicy new twist."

The new product line will be available in a 4-oz. bag for a suggested retail price of $1.49 and a 9.25-oz. bag for a suggested retail price of $2.99.

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