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Winn-Dixie Brings SaveRite Format to Melbourne, Fla.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Struggling to regain its footing in the Sunshine State, Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc. this morning cut the ribbon on its 65th limited-assortment SaveRite Grocery Warehouse store, in Melbourne, Fla.

Facing intense competitive pressures in its home state, Winn-Dixie, whose third-quarter sales dropped 5.5 percent for the 12 weeks ended March 31, opened its first SaveRite in October 2000 in Orlando, Fla. and has since converted all of its Atlanta-area stores to the SaveRite warehouse format.

The new 55,000-square-foot SaveRite, which replaces a former Winn-Dixie at 1270-39 Wickham Road in Melbourne, will provide shoppers with warehouse prices and a full selection in the produce, meat, bakery, and deli departments, Kathy Lussier, Winn-Dixie's director of communications, told Progressive Grocer. The store will also feature a pharmacy, a deli, a full-service bakery, expanded produce and meat departments, a customer service booth, and an extensive selection of Hispanic and Caribbean foods, including a section in the produce department, added Lussier, noting that an adjacent liquor store with a separate entrance will offer wine, spirits, and related gifts.

"As with previous new-store openings, our new Melbourne location carries on the SaveRite tradition and strategy of customizing each store to include the products and services that customers in the local neighborhood want," said SaveRite division president Jim Thatcher, a former Fleming Cos. executive who joined Winn-Dixie last December. "Our goal is to be the best in the neighborhood by providing our neighbors with the products and services they need in a convenient location close to home."

During the grand-opening celebration, the company presented a $2,500 check to Honor America, a local nonprofit, nonpolitical, nonsectarian public service organization whose motto is "Honor America & Respect the Flag," according to Lussier. In conjunction with the holiday weekend, several patriotic grand-opening activities are planned, Lussier adds, including the collection of care-package items that will go to active-duty military. Shoppers are also encouraged to sign and send personalized patriotic message to U.S. troops on a large vinyl banner that will be on display. Honor America will oversee the effort and deliver the banner to Patrick Air Force Base at the conclusion of the three-day July 4th holiday.
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