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Phildelphia Releases Plans to Lure More Supermarkets

PHILADELPHIA - The Marketing Task Force, based here, yesterday unveiled its 10 recommendations to attract more supermarkets to the City of Brotherly Love, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported.

The body, consisting of 40 experts from the private, public, and civic sectors, was formed by the City Council to look into the dearth of supermarkets in Philadelphia. According to State Rep. Dwight Evans, D-Philadelphia, 10 supermarkets are slated to open in Philadelphia over the next five years, due to $100 million in low-interest loans, loan guarantees, and planning grants he helped add to Gov. Ed Rendell's economic stimulus package as incentives for food retailers to come to urban and rural locations.

The group's recommendations included making food retailing a priority for comprehensive neighborhood development, and targeting areas for development and promoting them to real estate developers and the supermarket industry. It further advised that Philadelphia should lower regulatory barriers to supermarket investment, give priority to assembling land for development, and offer economic programs to the supermarket industry.

Additional components of the task force's plan were data-driven market assessment methods to show the neighborhoods where demand isn't being met; the establishment of a business financing program to facilitate local supermarket development; safe, inexpensive, and convenient transportation for those unable to get to a full-service supermarket on their own; and the marketing of public incentives to exert maximum influence over supermarket site location decisions.

The implementation of the recommendations should be monitored by an advisory group of leaders from the supermarket industry and civic sector, the task force advised.
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