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• Publix said yesterday that its Q1 sales were $8.7 billion, up 4.5 percent from last year’s $8.3 billion. Net earnings for the period were $581.9 million, compared to $548.9 million in 2015, an increase of 6 percent. Same-store sales were up 3.3 percent.

• The Des Moines Register reports that "three new specialty food stores have opened in the Des Moines area since last fall, joining an already competitive grocery market and a string of established grocers that sell ethnic, gourmet and health-conscious food. The attraction is simple: Shoppers are demanding healthier and diet-sensitive food options, prompting national specialty grocery chains to seek out metro areas such as Des Moines, where they can sell organic, natural and gluten-free produce, meat, dairy and baked goods."

The story notes that "newcomers The Fresh Market and Fresh Thyme Farmers Market, both in West Des Moines, and Natural Grocers in Clive, join established grocers Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, both in West Des Moines, and Gateway Market and Campbell’s Nutrition, both in Des Moines." And that doesn't even count Hy-Vee, the dominant Iowa retailer that has been offering "greater selections of competitively priced natural and organic foods."
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