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    Safeway's Blackhawk Gets Kroger for Christmas

    PLEASANTON, Calif. - The Blackhawk Network, a subsidiary of Safeway Inc. here, yesterday card-based added Cincinnati-based grocery chain The Kroger Co. to its Gift Card Mall program, which will be up and running at the leading grocery chain in time for the holiday season.

    PLEASANTON, Calif. - The Blackhawk Network, a subsidiary of Safeway Inc. here, yesterday card-based added Cincinnati-based grocery chain The Kroger Co. to its Gift Card Mall program, which will be up and running at the leading grocery chain in time for the holiday season.

    Kroger operates more than 2,491 supermarkets and multi-department stores in 31 states, under banners that include Kroger and Kroger Marketplace, Ralphs, Fred Meyer, Food 4 Less, and Dillons.

    The addition of these stores to will extend Blackhawk's Gift Card Mall presence to millions of additional shoppers, and make the program nearly universal in major chains.

    "With the addition of Kroger to our list of distinguished retail partners, Blackhawk Network's Gift Card Malls will now be conveniently located in grocery stores that represent 90 percent of the top supermarket sales volume in the United States," said Don Kingsborough, president and c.e.o. of the financial solutions and third-party gift cards supplier Blackhawk.

    Kroger plans to support the launch of the new fixtures, which it will install on end caps and at checkstands -- with marketing campaigns that include television, radio, and in-store promotions.

    Kroger's 780 convenience stores will add Blackhawk's gift cards in late 2008.

    Blackhawk, owned by Safeway Inc., is a prepaid and payments network, a card-based financial solutions company, and a provider of third-party prepaid cards. The company said its network includes more than 82,000 storefronts, and reaches more than 165 million consumers each week.

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