WEST BRIDGEWATER, Mass. -- Shaw's Supermarkets here is betting the store that differentiation will be its key to success against traditional competitors and Wal-Mart Supercenters.

In the past three months Shaw's has opened several stores with distinctive formats: an urban store with a strong perishables offering in downtown Boston; a neighborhood store with a Hispanic flavor in Providence, R.I.; and three fresh stores with expanded nonfood departments in Vermont and Mass

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