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    Fresh Brands' Houser, Wal-Mart's Westling Headline SAMMY Winners

    ORLANDO, Fla. - Fresh Brands' executive vice president Michael Houser and Wal-Mart's senior vice president of food merchandising John Westling will headline next week's inaugural SAMMY reception here.

    ORLANDO, Fla. - Fresh Brands' executive vice president Michael Houser and Wal-Mart's senior vice president of food merchandising John Westling will headline a cast of top executives from the food, drug and mass retail industry at next week's inaugural SAMMY (Store-Specific Merchandising & Marketing awards) reception here.

    Also scheduled to receive SAMMY awards next Thursday evening at the Black Entertainment Television Sound Studios at Pleasure Island in Orlando are John Harris, divisional vice president for 7-Eleven, Chris Bodine, executive vice president of merchandising and market for CVS Corp., and Ed Paxton, vice president of marketing for Family Dollar Stores.

    The SAMMY's honor those retail organizations that demonstrate:
    -- Leadership in steering the retail industry to be more sensitive to the needs of multicultural markets and for being responsive to the product and service needs of these markets.

    -- Innovation in developing merchandising and marketing programs aimed at multicultural markets, including Hispanics, African-Americans and Asian-Americans.

    -- Innovation in developing merchandising and marketing programs aimed at age-specific demographics of the U.S. population, such as children, tweens, teens, aging boomers and seniors.

    The award ceremonies will also honor Progressive Grocer's 2001 Retailers of the Year, Stater Bros. and Ukrop's Supermarkets, and Retail Merchandiser's Retail Executive of the Year, Brad Anderson, CEO of Best Buy.

    The SAMMY awards are held in conjunction with Retail Merchandiser magazine's Store-Specific Merchandising & Marketing Conference: Connecting with the New Consumer, being held April 10-12, at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort in Orlando. The conference is expected to draw approximately 150 leading merchandising and marketing executives from the food, drug, specialty and mass retail industries and their suppliers.

    For more information on attending either the SAMMY's awards or the conference, please contact Nicole Bagdanov at 646-654-7487 or go to www.store-specific.com.

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