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• The Grand Rapids Press reports that Michigan-based Spartan Stores’ first new unit “in four years is nearing completion as a prototype grocery in Allendale Township and scheduled to open in October. It will replace an older store, just down the street on Lake Michigan Drive. Construction is expected to start later this year on a replacement store on Northland Drive NE in Plainfield Township.

“Ten to 15 fuel centers will be added over the next three years, in-store pharmacies will be upgraded, and Spartan is looking to increase its frozen foods capacity and get into the ice cream distribution business, executives said.” This growth – plus the company’s acquisition of companies like D&W Food Centers and Felpausch – reflects what analysts see as a new aggression and ambition at Spartan.

• The Financial Times reports that it appears that Tesco has secured the support of more than 50 percent of shareholders in Dobbies Garden Centres, the Scottish retail chain that it is looking to acquire for the equivalent of about $300 million (US).

According to local media reports there, Tesco’s quest to acquire Dobbies has been complicated by one investor, Tom Hunter, who now owns 29.3 percent of Dobbies. While Hunter has said he will not bid against Tesco to acquire the whole company, the size of his stake reportedly means that Dobbies will have to remain a publicly traded company and not be absorbed into Tesco.
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