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    Ralphs Grocery Co. to Discontinue Supply Agreement With Tree of Life

    ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. ¿- Ralphs Grocery Co. is dropping Tree of Life, Inc. here as its natural and specialty food distributor. Tree of Life officials said the parting of the ways with the grocer will have little impact on its overall financial health.

    ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. –- Ralphs Grocery Co. is dropping Tree of Life, Inc. here as its natural and specialty food distributor. Tree of Life officials said the parting of the ways with the grocer will have little impact on its overall financial health.

    "For the past several months Tree of Life and Ralphs have held discussions about the possible terms of a future business relationship," said Brian Evers, president of Tree of Life's West Region, in a statement. "Ultimately we were unable to reach terms that would have been accretive to our strategic goals. Until the end of the year, Tree of Life will continue to provide Ralphs with the support necessary to facilitate an orderly transition to another supplier."

    While near-term modifications will be required, Tree of Life said the change is expected to have little financial or strategic impact.

    "The scale of our Southern California operations without the Ralphs business is still on par with many of our other distribution centers throughout North America," said Evers. "We anticipate minimal impact from this announcement on our 2005 performance and no impact on achieving our long-term strategic goals. While we regret the outcome of our negotiations with Ralphs, Tree of Life remains fully committed to the long-term growth of its business in the California market."

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