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The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Winn-Dixie CEO Peter Lynch has been losing a number of bets lately. But that these are bets that he likes to lose.

Lynch reportedly bets store managers that they can increase sales – and when they do so, he takes them and their entire management team to lunch.

The paper says that Lynch now has lunch dates booked through July 2006, and that he believes this represents a significant turnaround in Winn-Dixie’s fortunes.

"People now are proud about what they're doing," he tells the paper. "Before, they had their heads hanging down."

While Winn-Dixie has closed more than 300 stores and eliminated more than $100 million from its annual expenses, analysts remain concerned that the company simply is losing too much money to feel confident about its prospects.
KC's View:
It isn’t how many lunches Lynch has with store managers that counts.

It is whether bigger and better chains such as Wal-Mart and Publix will, in the end, gobble up its future.

Burt Flickinger III, managing director of Strategic Resources Group, tells the Journal-Constitution that Winn-Dixie "continues to lose massive amounts of money with no signs of stopping the bleeding on the operating loss."

Perhaps even more important is the fact that the company doesn’t seem to be reinventing itself in terms of creating a compelling shopping experience that breaks the rules. Mere fixes may not be enough.