Polishing Up Jewels in Wal-Mart Economy

Wal Mart takes chunk out of local grocers

Changes are on the way for Jewel stores across the area, as the grocery chain steps up to stave off Wal Mart.

"Supermarkets can't compete with Wal-Mart on price, so their only alternative is to try to improve the ambiance and selection," says Mitch Corwin, an analyst in Chicago with Morningstar Inc. "Jewel is clearly playing defensive against Wal-Mart."

Crain's Chicago reported Monday that Jewel-Osco's owner is spending tens of millions of dollars to spiff up stores and defend its turf from Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

At stake is domination of the $12-billion local grocery market, one of the largest in the country. With its dominant position, Jewel is one of Supervalu's strongest and most profitable brands.

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