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April 4, 2008

Top stories on just-food this week

Tesco, the UK retail giant, has taken centre stage this week with speculation over its interest in Russia and India - and its decision to call a halt to the roll-out of its stores in the US.

Tesco, the UK retail giant, has taken centre stage this week with speculation over its interest in Russia and India – and its decision to call a halt to the roll-out of its stores in the US.

Meanwhile, the planned sale of fellow UK retailer Somerfield took a new twist, as it emerged convenience store chain the Co-op is in takeover talks with the company.

A sale of another firm, Australian group Dairy Farmers, has caught your interest – as did our interview with Starbucks consumer goods executive Wendy Pinero over the coffee chain’s tie-up with chocolate giant Hershey.

Elsewhere, Washington’s forecast that US corn production would fall this year off alarm bells in the food industry.

Teething troubles or turmoil at Tesco?
Tesco, for so long a case study in how to succeed in UK retailing and expand overseas, is facing accusations that it is losing its touch. Speculation over its US business and signs of a lacklustre performance in the UK have generated uncertainty around the company. Dean Best reports.

UK: Co-op in talks to buy Somerfield
The Co-operative Group is locked in talks to buy fellow UK convenience retailer Somerfield, just-food understands. Negotiations between the two companies have begun after the Co-op emerged as the only potential suitor to table a formal bid for Somerfield, which runs over 900 stores in the UK.

AUS: Goodman “drops out” of Dairy Farmers race
Goodman Fielder, the Australia-based food maker, has reportedly dropped out of the bidding for Dairy Farmers. The company had pulled out of the race after refusing to sign confidentiality agreements necessary to secure its place in the auction.

Just the Answer – Wendy Piñero, Starbucks
Given how jealously brands guard their heritage and image, co-branded initiatives are rare and approached with delicacy and trepidation. The recent collaboration between Hershey and Starbucks in the US chocolate market offers an insight into what happens when two iconic brands join forces. Wendy Piñero, vice president consumer products at Starbucks, spoke with Michelle Russell about the joint venture.

US: Washington predicts slump in corn output
The US Department of Agriculture has predicted that corn production will dramatically fall this year, setting off alarm bells in the food industry. According to the March Prospective Planting Report, this year farmers will plant around 86m acres of corn, a year-on-year drop of 8%.

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