On A Fast Boat To AnywhereJoseph Weber
After tasting lean fare in 1992, when it had to cut prices to hold on to its grocery-store customers, Afood distributor Fleming Cos. should do better in 1993. Its $13 billion in sales may increase 4% this year, vs. no growth in 11/22, analysts say. Yet the Oklahoma City titan is reacting differently to this recovery than it has to past upturns: To ensure growth in good times and bad, it has decided to expand abroad. To build ties overseas, it is licensing distribution system software to Japanese and Korean distributors. And in early December, with a Mexican partner, it opened the first of 50 planned supermarkets south of the border. "In foreign countries, some opportunities are greater than in the U. S., where most major cities are overstored," says Fleming Senior Vice-President Robert G. Dolan Jr.
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