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• The Portland Business Journal reports that Western Family Foods "has reached a deal with Topco Associates LLC to take over sourcing, distribution and management of its three primary grocery brands: Western Family, Shurfine and Natural Directions," a move that it says "will providing pricing benefits to the independent retailers and consumers that buy its products."

Once the deal has been completed later this year, the story says, "Western Family will close its corporate office and lay off its entire 58-person workforce," leaving it to the much larger Topco to serve the independent retailers that Western Family has been serving for a half-century.

• In New Hampshire, the Union-Leader reports that Hannaford Supermarkets will open a "new design concept" store this weekend in Bedford, a 68,000 square foot store that the company says will be "a learning laboratory to figure out just how effective certain services are when put together and offered in a large store."

The story says that at the new store, "customers can buy made-to-order food to eat at the store or take out, do their food shopping online and pick up at the store as well as get customized cutting of fruits and vegetables." It also "will offer a brew room with more than 230 kinds of craft beer as well as an extensive wine selection."

The story suggests that the new concept is positioned to compete more effectively with a new Whole Foods and Walmart, as well as an about-to-open Aldi.
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