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  • Wal-Mart Wins Latest Round In Puerto Rico. The Associated Press reports this morning that a federal judge has blocked Puerto Rico’s attempt to stop the sale of Supermercados Amigo there to Wal-Mart for $225 million. The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) had approved the sale, but the island’s government is trying to invalidate it on the grounds that it is anti-competitive and contrary to the interests of local consumers.

    While the judge has stayed the move by Puerto Rico, the door remains open as both sides will have an opportunity to argue the case.

  • ConAgra Recalls 36,000 Pounds Of Chicken. ConAgra Foods Poultry Group is recalling bout 36,000 pounds of its "Easy Entree Popcorn Style Chicken, Fully Cooked, Breaded Chicken Breast with Rib Meat, Made with White Meat, Oven Crisp Breading." The product may be contaminated with plastic.

  • Kohl’s Won’t Convert To Food Basics Format. According to local press reports in Wisconsin, the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. has no plans to convert its 31 Kohl’s stores there to the deep discount, limited assortment Food Basics format that it plans to roll out elsewhere.

  • Consumers Defy Expectations And Buy More In November. The US Commerce Department reported that retail sales during the month of November grew a stronger-than-expected 0.4 percent, with sales outside of autos rising a bigger 0.5 percent.

  • Starbucks Eyes Chinese Expansion. Reuters reports this morning that Starbucks Corp. plans a big expansion in China, growing from 62 stores at the present time to around 6,000.

    "We are setting our own internal expectation on a much bigger opportunity in greater China, much bigger opportunity than we originally thought," Howard Schultz, Starbucks' chairman and chief global strategist, told Reuters. "Competition is not that unhealthy because it expands the marketplace and it also creates an opportunity for us to differentiate ourselves. We welcome that."

    Starbucks hardly is alone in this strategic thinking. Global hypermarket companies like Carrefour and Wal-Mart also are training their sights in China as a source of much future growth.

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