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    Winn-Dixie Broadens Hispanic Initiative

    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc. here said earlier this week it has added 55 stores to its Hispanic Neighborhood Merchandising program, including an additional 30 in the Miami market and expansion into 25 Orlando-area stores.

    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc. here said earlier this week it has added 55 stores to its Hispanic Neighborhood Merchandising program, including an additional 30 in the Miami market and expansion into 25 Orlando-area stores.

    Hispanic marketing is one of the business initiatives the regional chain is further developing now that it has officially emerged from bankruptcy.

    The 522-store chain currently has 103 locations that are specifically merchandised and marketed to Hispanic consumers, blending products and services for Hispanics into their core offerings.

    As part of this initiative, Winn-Dixie said it has tailored its product mix in these stores to the nationalities most heavily represented by the local demographic. For example, stores in neighborhoods with a largely Cuban population will be merchandised differently than those that serve a predominantly Mexican population.

    While these locations are still bannered under the Winn-Dixie name, the chain uses a special tagline, "El sabor de tu pais" (The flavor of your country), in all Hispanic advertising programs and promotions to reinforce its message of commitment to these communities.

    "It's about getting better all the time and growing our brand," said Peter Lynch, Winn-Dixie's president, c.e.o., and chairman of the board, in a statement. "We have recognized the importance and diversity of the growing Hispanic market for a long time. We are excited about this expansion into the Orlando market and the broadening of our base in Miami.

    "The importance of the Neighborhood Merchandising initiative is that it allows us to keep our core product offering consistent throughout the chain, while identifying and fulfilling the special needs and desires of the many diverse neighborhoods that we serve," Lynch said.

    In addition, the company, which emerged from Chapter 11 last month, has appointed a new board of directors that includes two Hispanic business leaders, Charles Garcia and Richard Rivera.

    Garcia is president of Sterling Hispanic Capital Markets Group of vFinance Investments Inc., which provides growth capital to companies focused on the Hispanic market. He was named by Hispanic Business Magazine as one of the "100 Most Influential Hispanics" in the United States and by Hispanic Magazine as a "2004 Entrepreneur of the Year."

    Rivera, a 30-year veteran of the restaurant industry, currently serves as vice chairman of the National Restaurant Association and c.e.o. of Rubicon Enterprises LLC, a leading restaurant development company in Sarasota, Fla.

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