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• The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) announced its selection of nine finalists for the 12th annual Store Manager Awards competition, which it says “identifies exceptional store managers who generate sales growth, provide great customer service, lead outstanding store teams and serve the community in unique ways. Among the nine, three winners will be named on May 1 in Dallas at the FMI2012 convention and retail trade show.”

The nine finalists represent companies that include ShopRite, Meijer, D&W, King Soopers, Hy-Vee and Harris Teeter.

“Thanks to an earlier Easter holiday and unseasonably warm weather through much of the country, retailers in March witnessed solid sales growth,” according to the National Retail Federation, which said that March retail industry sales (excluding automobiles, gas stations and restaurants) increased 0.8 percent seasonally adjusted from February and 6.6 percent unadjusted year-over-year.”

• Family Dollar Stores announced it has agreed in terms to a multi-year partnership with PepsiCo to sell its beverages in its 7,100 stores across 45 states ... Starting today and by May of this year, Family Dollar shoppers will have access to a variety of products from PepsiCo's North America beverage portfolio, including Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Sierra Mist, Aquafina and Lipton teas. Family Dollar already offers PepsiCo's Gatorade, Frito-Lay and Quaker products.
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