PORTLAND, Ore. -- Five co-op wholesalers have embarked on a nonfood business plan to become more competitive with Wal-Mart and other discount retailers. The yet-to-be-named organization is set to be launched at mid-year 2000 for buying everyday national-brand general-merchandise and health and beauty care products, Richard Parkinson, president and chief executive officer of Associated Food Stores, Salt Lake City, one of the co-op wholesalers involved in the business plan, told SN. ...

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