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• In Colorado, the Daily Camera reports that Sprouts Farmers Market is opening a new 23,800 square foot store in Boulder – one of 11 stores being opened by the company this year. As the Camera reports, there is no dearth of competition: “Boulder -- which birthed natural groceries of Alfalfa's, Wild Oats and Sunflower Farmers Markets -- has four Whole Foods markets, a Natural Grocers By Vitamin Cottage, one Sunflower, the natural-foods-focused Lucky's Market and King Soopers and Safeway stores redesigned to highlight their natural and organic offerings.”

But Doug Sanders, Sprouts’ president/COO, tells the newspaper that while the competition is tough, he is convinced that the company’s approach – healthy foods at value prices – will be enough of a differentiation to succeed in the marketplace.

• The US Supreme Court said yesterday that it would not hear an appeal filed by Family Dollar of a $35 million jury award to employees who successfully sued the company for not paying them overtime wages. Family Dollar had maintained that the workers wee managers and did not qualify for overtime, even though their job duties included manual labor like unloading trucks and janitorial duties.

• The National Retail federation (NRF) said yesterday that it expects 2009 end-of-year holiday sales to decline one percent to $437.6 billion, which it said would not be “as dramatic as last year’s 3.4 percent drop in holiday retail sales nor as severe as the 3.0 percent decline in annual retail industry sales expected for all of 2009.”

• GS1 US has announced that 55 foodservice manufacturers, distributors and operators have launched the Foodservice GS1 US Standards Initiative, and have funded the “GS1 US Team for Foodservice” to guide execution. According to the announcement, “The Initiative recommends the adoption of a common timeline for voluntary individual company implementation of GS1 Global standards for company identification, item identification and product description; 45 of the Initiative’s founding member companies have already voluntarily committed to this common timeline … The Initiative is striving for 75 percent adoption of GS1 standards throughout the foodservice industry, measured in terms of revenue, by 2015, and is endorsed by the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association (IFMA), the International Foodservice Distributors Association (IFDA), the National Restaurant Association, and GS1 Canada Foodservice.”
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