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Giant Eagle Preparing for Bird Flu

PITTSBURGH -- Giant Eagle here shared details of its pandemic flu preparation plan as one of several key participants at a forum on the avian flu and pandemic preparedness this week.

John Saunders, Giant Eagle's director of computer services and IT procurement, said Giant Eagle will aim to minimize person-to-person contact in its stores by encouraging the use of self-service checkout lines, drive-up pharmacy windows and debit or credit cards rather than cash.

The forum, sponsored by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, drew a gathering of about 200 business leaders focusing on steps to prepare for a public health emergency.

In the event of a pandemic threat, the Giant Eagle official said the chain is considering the feasibility of creating an online grocery store that would ship purchased goods to homes via mail or a commercial shipping service. Because a typical Giant Eagle store stocks about 40,000 different items, Saunders said the company also is trying to determine which core items it would need to stockpile during a pandemic.
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