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Nashville Scene reports that Kroger is taking over the Nashville operations of its Harris Teeter division, closing three temporarily so they can be re-branded as Kroger, and closing one permanently.

Kroger acquired Harris Teeter last year for $2.5 billion.

• The Associated Press reports that "McDonald's says it's introducing a trio of "Sirloin Third Pound" burgers for a limited time starting later this month, the latest sign the chain is pushing to improve perceptions about the quality of its food. The sirloin burgers would have the biggest beef patties on the chain's menu and come after McDonald's dropped its Angus Third Pounders in 2013 ... McDonald's says the sirloin burgers will cost around $4.99, although franchisees can determine their own prices."

• The Wall Street Journal reports that "retail sales of specialty food, a category that includes items from imported cheese to top-quality coffee beans, rose to $51.23 billion in 2014.
That brought its share of retail U.S. food sales to 15%, according to an estimate scheduled for release on Wednesday by the Specialty Food Association, a trade group ... Shifting consumer tastes toward foods that are perceived as more natural, less processed or locally produced has encouraged grocery store chains to seek out new, smaller brands." Which means that while specialty foods may remain special, they are becoming less of a niche market.
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