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Safeway, Wegmans Escalate Supermarket War

Monday, April 18, 2005; Page E02

The region's red-hot grocery market is about to get even more competitive, with Safeway introducing a marketing campaign and Wegmans Food Markets proposing to build its third store in the area.

Today Safeway is to introduce a new logo, slogan and advertising campaign, to be followed by store-by-store renovation. Stores will get hardwood floors, subdued lighting and spruced-up produce, delicatessen, bakery and floral departments. Safeway's new design is in place at a few locations, including stores in Ellicott City, Arlington and Waldorf.


Wegmans Food Markets plans to build a third store in the Washington region. The store in Sterling (pictured) was Wegmans' first in the area. (Mark Finkenstaedt For The Washington Post)

The changes are part of a two-year-old strategy to reinvent Safeway as a "shopping destination," said Gregory TenEyck, a spokesman. Wal-Mart caters to the cost conscious and Wegmans, Whole Foods and Trader Joe's to the higher-end shopper, but that leaves "the vast middle -- that is what Safeway is out to own," he said. (Giant Food, the region's biggest supermarket chain, also competes for that market.)

The new Wegmans is proposed for Route 7 and River Creek Parkway in eastern Leesburg. It is part of a proposed office, residential and retail complex that is awaiting town approval. No opening date has been set, said spokeswoman Jo Natale.

DISTRICT

Pepco said it received $57.5 million from Mirant last week. The District-based utility sued in December to force Mirant to resume payments under a 2000 deal under which Mirant bought Pepco's largest power-generating units for $2.65 billion. Mirant stopped making payments in December after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization, but last month a federal judge in Fort Worth ordered Mirant to pay past due amounts and resume regular payments, Pepco said.

Emerson Strategic Group, which provides consulting on compliance with health care regulations, was purchased by TruArx of Detroit, which provides security services for computer systems. Terms were not disclosed.

MARYLAND

The University of Maryland campus in College Park will be home to the Center for Health Information and Decision Systems, which will develop business technology for the health care industry. It will be part of the Robert H. Smith School of Business.

Avatech Solutions of Owings Mills completed its acquisition of Comtrex of Charlotte on terms that were not disclosed.

VIRGINIA

Angle Technology, an international consulting firm with U.S. headquarters in Vienna, said it received a three-year, $11 million contract to manage the Qatar Foundation's Science and Technology Park in Doha, Qatar.

Horne Engineering of Falls Church agreed to be purchased by Spectrum Sciences & Software Holdings of Fort Walton Beach, Fla., for $4.5 million in cash and 6.1 million shares of Spectrum common stock, according to Spectrum.


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