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  • Published reports say that Kroger has cut checks totaling $32 million to Safeway and Albertsons as compensation for money lost by the two rival companies during the four-month California grocery strike. The three chains had a “share the pain” agreement – still being challenged by the California Attorney General – that led them to pool their resources to the point where if one company did better than the others during the labor action, the other companies got compensated.

    Kroger – which certainly has a better relationship with organized labor than Safeway – reportedly had already written checks totaling $116 million to the two rival chains.

  • The Center for Post-Harvest Food Protection and Defense, funded by the federal government to the tune of $15 million over three years, has been opened at the University of Minnesota.

    Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge and Agricultural Secretary Ann Veneman were on hand yesterday for the unveiling. The center is described as a collaboration of educators, growers, food companies and retailers, designed to focus on food terrorism and its prevention.

  • The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that Procter & Gamble has three brands that have crossed the magic line and are now generating more than a billion dollars a year in sales - Head & Shoulders, Wella and Actonel.

    This brings to 16 the number of billion-dollar brands in the P&G stable, the others being Pringles; Iams; Charmin; Pantene; Olay; Tide; Always; Folgers; Crest; Bounty; Pampers; Ariel; and Downy.

    Analysts say that P&G’s success is due to its recent strategy of focusing on core brands.

  • UK retailer Tesco reportedly is close to signing a deal that will allow it open stores on mainland China; CEO Sir Terry Leahy reportedly visited Shanghai last week looking for locations.

  • According to the Wall Street Journal, Dunkin Donuts is targeting markets such as Atlanta, Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham, NC, and Tampa, Fla., as areas ripe for rapid expansion – with the likelihood that the company could as much as quadruple its presence in those places.

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