TIGARD, Ore. -- A co-op wholesale-buying consortium, formed in conjunction with Western Family Foods here to leverage the volume of several thousand independent retailers in procuring branded general merchandise, reports improved margins and a stronger competitive position for retailers. Western Family, which supplies private-label to its members, negotiates the branded lines under a separate division, on behalf of Associated Grocers, Seattle; URM Stores, Spokane, Wash.; United Grocers, ...

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