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    Winn-Dixie Joins Topco

    The chain said it will tap into Topco's economies of scale and store brand expertise.

    Winn-Dixie Stores said yesterday it has become a member of Topco Associates LLC, in a deal that will turn the chains procurement of corporate brand products in grocery, frozen, dairy, HBC, GM, and perishables over to the cooperative.

    "Our corporate brands program is one of the key initiatives in our business plan," said Dan Portnoy, chief merchandising and marketing officer for Jacksonville, Fla.-based Winn-Dixie. "Topco's expertise in procurement, product development, and quality assurance, plus the economies that are gained through consolidating our purchasing with other Topco members, will serve to greatly strengthen our private label initiative."

    Topco Associates, headquartered outside Chicago, is a member-owned private label procurement cooperative. Hy-Vee, Giant Eagle, Meijer, and other well-known grocers are members. The company's focus is the sourcing, procurement and development of national brand equivalent private label products.

    Joe McKie, vp, corporate brands, said the move to the Topco program ought to give Winn-Dixie "a tremendous advantage as we continue getting better at providing our customers and associates with a best-in-class private label program." said.

    Winn-Dixie operates 521 stores.

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