Brookshire Grocery Co., Tyler, TX, has expanded its use of SAP applications. Currently running SAP's financial and human resource software, the supermarket retailer is adding merchandise, assortment planning, forecasting, replenishment and point-of-sale data management solutions.

U.S. companies will increase their ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) budgets an average of 12.3 percent next year— the highest investment levels in years, according to AMR Research Inc., Boston. Globalization and lean manufacturing are the top two business issues companies plan to address.

Co-packer J. Lieb Foods, Forest Grove, OR, has completed the purchase of Welch's plant operations in Kennewick, WA. The manufacturing plant covers 210,000 square feet and includes four complete packaging lines, a re-pack line and over 2 million gallons of bulk ingredient storage.

Coca-Cola Amatil (CCA), the largest Coca-Cola bottler in Asia Pacific, has commissioned Swisslog, a Switzerland-based material handling supplier, to build an automated bulk distribution center near its headquarters in Sydney, Australia. The facility will feature 55,000 pallet positions and automated loading docks.

Private label merchandise helps drive retail sales, according to a study conducted by Retail Systems Alert Group, Chicago. The study found that retail winners carry a significantly higher percentage of private label merchandise than their competitors. These same retailers also achieve a better return on inventory investments and outperform competitors in overall gross margin improvements.

Mollie Stone's Markets, an upscale grocer in the San Francisco Bay area, will implement price optimization software from Revionics Inc., Sacramento, CA. The service is available as an Internet-based weekly subscription model.

MTC Delaware, a subsidiary of Hoffberger Holdings Inc., has acquired a refrigerated distribution center in New Castle, DE, from Delaware Refrigerated Services. The facility will operate under the Merchants Terminal Corp. banner. The purchase adds a fourth location to Merchant's offerings, adding 221,000 square feet and 6,100,000 cubic feet of refrigerated space.

Lowes Foods Stores Inc., the Hickory, NC-based subsidiary of Alex Lee Inc., plans to implement DemandAnalytX (DAX), a demand forecasting and order optimization application from Retalix, Dallas. The DAX solution is web-enabled and provides tools to improve product availability, inventory management and supply chain efficiency.

Convenience store retailer WaWa Inc., WaWa, PA, has partnered with Milwaukee-based Catalyst International, to implement a complete wireless data collection solution, utilizing SAPConsole, across its entire store network. Catalyst is a certified SAP services provider.

Mastronardi Produce Ltd., a Canadian grower, packer and distributor of vegetables, has selected RIMS Produce, a warehouse management system from Robocom, Massapequa, NY. Mastronardi will implement the WMS in its refrigerated warehouses in Romulus, MI and Kingsville, Ontario.

After a successful trial, Michelina's, a leading U.S. frozen foods processor, has joined the CHEP pallet pool program. The Duluth, MN-based company, which sells the Michelina's, Authentico, Lean Gourmet, Signature, Yu Sing and Zap'ems lines, is now shipping product on CHEP pallets from its Jackson, OH, production facility to the mass retail, wholesale club, supermarket, foodservice, and drug trade channels.

Supermarket retailer BI-LO LLC, Mauldin, SC, as selected a suite of products from DemandTec Inc., San Carlos, CA. BI-LO will be implementing DemandTec Price, DemandTec Promotion and DemandTec TradePoint solutions as part of a 36-month agreement.