WEST DES MOINES, Iowa -- General merchandise is a core component of Hy-Vee's business strategy. While many retailers still regard nonfood as an afterthought, upper management at Hy-Vee made it a top priority in the late '90s, said Ron Pearson, Hy-Vee's chairman of the board and chairman of the executive committee. Seven or eight years ago, "we decided that in the next five years we had to grow the equivalent of 20 years' growth in general merchandise if we were going to be competitive," he ...

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