10:14 p.m. The biggest piece of news I've stumbled on tonight is this Bloomberg story titled "Fallout from listeria outbreak hits Wal Mart."

After I read the story, I asked Bill Marler in an email if he could send a pdf copy of one of the lawsuits filed in Colorado. Received a quick reply to the affirmative (there are eight lawsuits so far) and he also added that the law firm would be filing another lawsuit in New Mexico this week  that would "add in" the auditor.

These are sobering times for all in the fresh produce supply chain.

10:27 p.m. Just had a nice Gmail chat with my sister, talking about Thanksgiving plans. Back to the blog.

Over the course of the week, I go about "collecting" various hyperlinks of interest that may or may not be stories but are worth noting in some way. For the purposes of this blog post, here are a few that fall in the realm of "supermarkets."

Fox Business reports the latest figures on UK market share. Discount brands gain again, with market leader Tesco off a tick and Morrison's up slightly. From the story:

 "Given the universal emphasis on price across the sector, the big four retailers will need to differentiate themselves. Own-label brands are an obvious way of doing this. We are already seeing double-digit growth for Tesco Finest and substantial revamps for own-label ranges at Asda, Sainsbury's and Morrisons--suggesting this might be a key battleground going forward."

10: 35 p.m. Not so fast with the private label approach, some Aussie critics assert. In this coverage from SMH.com,  the story begins:

Industry Minister Kim Carr has launched a stinging attack on supermarket companies' plans to increase their market share of private-label goods.

Why is private label bad? The country's duopoly of Woolworth and Coles has much to do with the concern: The story continues:

As Woolworths said yesterday it aimed to double its share of private-label or ''house brand'' products, Senator Carr backed local manufacturers' concerns about the sector's rapid growth.

''We will be told that this is all about consumer rights,'' he said. ''It's not. It's about supermarket profits.''

Private-label goods are estimated to account for up to 20 per cent of all supermarket sales, and food manufacturers fear further growth will squeeze margins on branded products.

Senator Carr said the push for more private-label products threatened to ''kill any incentive to innovate'' among supplier firms.

Flat out, critics say the private label trend is a brand and innovation killer. And retailers can discount the prices of own brands while hiking prices of brand names to increase consumer appeal of private labels. Brilliant! Can - and should - be anything done to stop own label ambition?

10:51 p.m. One more item before signing off, a news release about Stop & Shop's new concept store. From the release:


Replacing the former 38,500 sq. ft. location at 16 Boston Post Road in Chelmsford, the new, 72,000 sq. ft. store will be the first of its kind for Stop & Shop. The store's format and offerings were designed to better meet the needs of customers in Chelmsford and positively impact the health and well being of the community. Exciting and convenient new amenities include an in-store nutritionist, a supervised child play area, curbside pick-up and innovative in-store shopping tools.

The store will offer an expanded assortment of products throughout each department.

    * The expansive produce department will include more than 1,200 items including a wide variety of heirloom tomatoes, a large selection of cut fruit, fruit and vegetable party platters, and new cut vegetable offerings.
    * The prepared foods section and full-service deli department will feature fresh fried and rotisserie chicken, a full salad bar, more than 250 varieties of world-class cheeses, a sushi bar, hot soup, sandwiches and more.
    * The full-service meat and seafood departments will offer only USDA Choice or higher meat, Certified Angus Beef, Nature's Promise® Organic meats, free-range all natural beef, and Choice Catch sustainability seafood.
    * The full-service, expanded bakery department will offer freshly baked breads and signature desserts.
    * The Nature's Promise® Marketplace will provide a wide variety of 650 natural and organic products; the store overall will offer more than 4,500 natural items.
    * The store will also boast approximately 4,000 Stop & Shop's Own Brands products for additional quality, variety, and everyday value.
    * Other departments include a bountiful full-service floral department, an expanded international foods section, and 25 aisles of grocery items.

10:57 p.m. Produce dept. sounds luscious.  Signing off for tonight.