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• The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that Ahold-owned Martin's Food Markets "will close three of its 22 Richmond-area stores next summer." The company said that the leases were expiring "and a business decision was made not to extend the leases for these stores."

The story notes that "the closings come as Martin’s is slated to be part of a proposed merger" by Ahold and Delhaize. "The planned merger is subject to approval of regulators and shareholders. Industry observers have said the Richmond area — with the Martin’s chain as the dominant grocer and with Food Lion’s 45 stores — would come under scrutiny and the merged company might have to give up some area stores."

However, Martin's management says the closing are unrelated to the planned merger.

• The New York Times has a story about the latest problem facing craft brewers - a can shortage.

According to the story, "While the craft beer boom has benefited small breweries around the country, it has also left some scrambling for cans. The 16-ounce size is in exceptionally high demand; it’s slightly larger and has become a popular way for niche brewers to distinguish themselves from behemoths like Budweiser and Coors, which use 12-ounce cans ... Some brewers and can distributors say they started seeing a can shortage over the summer. Orders that normally took two to four weeks to fill suddenly were taking eight weeks, then 12 weeks or even longer."

While can manufacturers are trying to address the problem, there seems to be little evidence that it will go away soon ... and so brewers are scrambling to figure out how to deal with the shortage.
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