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    Cub Foods to Add Six Metro Stores by 2005

    EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Flexing its muscle in an increasingly crowded Twin Cities grocery market, Cub Foods said Tuesday it will have 50 metro-area stores by early 2005.

    EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Flexing its muscle in an increasingly crowded Twin Cities grocery market, Cub Foods said Tuesday it will have 50 metro-area stores by early 2005.

    The chain, owned by food wholesaler and retailer Supervalu, Inc., unveiled plans for six new locations, including stores in Shorewood, Savage and Arden Hills that will open by the end of this year.

    Cub expects to add outposts next spring in Lakeville and at St. Paul's Sun Ray Shopping Center. The grocer also plans to be an anchor of the Park Village retail development in Brooklyn Park, slated for an early 2005 opening.

    The expansion of the Twin Cities' largest grocer comes as Wisconsin-based Roundy's Inc. revamps the 31 Minneapolis-St. Paul Rainbow Foods stores it acquired from bankrupt food distributor Fleming Cos. in June. Cub also faces plenty of competition on other fronts -- from high-end grocers such as Byerly's to warehouse membership clubs Costco and Sam's Club.

    Limited-assortment food retailer Aldi Inc. soon will enter Minnesota with a store in Inver Grove Heights, and it plans to open more of its discount stores here. SuperTarget, the grocery and general merchandise concept of Minneapolis-based Target Corp., will have 11 stores in its hometown market by the end of this year. The similar Wal-Mart supercenter chain has 10 Minnesota locations, but none yet in the metro area.

    Currently there are 54 company-owned and franchised Cub stores in Minnesota; 44 of them are in the Twin Cities area, according to Gordy Farrington, president of the retailer's western region. He said the new stores all are "in growth areas with a lot of new development and new housing." Most Cub stores employ about 200 people, Farrington said.

    Supervalu bought Cub in 1980, when the chain had five stores. Since 1995 Supervalu has added about four new Cub stores a year, said Farrington, who oversees 68 stores in four states. He noted this round of expansion has been in the works for at least three years, long before Roundy's and other newcomers announced plans to enter the market.

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