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• The Press of Atlantic City reports that the state of New Jersey is launching a new program designed to encourage food retailers to build or rehabilitate supermarkets in poor neighborhoods and communities not currently served by traditional grocery stores, combining low interest loans with private investment.

• Following up on recent reports that 7-Eleven plans to use the real estate softness created by the recession to dramatically increase its US store presence, the Los Angeles Times this morning reports that the c-store retailer plans to open as many as 600 new stores in Southern California, which would be a dramatic increase over the 800 stores that 7-Eleven currently operates there.

• In Canada, the Victoria Times Colonist reports that 22-store Thrifty Foods there will stop handing out disposable plastic bags – a move that it says will take as many as 27 million such bags out of circulation in a given year.

The chain will still make disposable paper bags available, as well as sell canvas reusable bags for 99 cents apiece.
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