Hy-Vee Inc. Is Latest Leading Supermarket Chain To Sign On With ICS FoodOne.com

Midwestern Chain Joins Spartan Stores and Associated Grocers In Using ICS FoodOne.com

Norcross, Georgia, UNITED STATES

NORCROSS, Georgia, Feb. 16, 2000 (PRIMEZONE) -- Internet Commerce Systems, Inc. announced that Hy-Vee, Inc., of West Des Moines, IA, has signed on to take advantage of the ICS FoodOne system.

ICS FoodOne is an Internet-based network serving grocery industry manufacturers, producers, suppliers, distributors and retailers. The interactive network provides the capability for on-line ordering along with fast, cost-effective and secure capability of information about product and brand introductions, seasonal and promotional items, packaging changes, special displays and other market coverage topics. ICS FoodOne is open only to registered, qualified members of the industry.

Hy-Vee is a leading supermarket company in the upper Midwest and one of the top 15 supermarket chains in the U.S. Hy-Vee has more than 200 supermarkets and other retail stores, and 43,000 employees. The company operates in Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota and Minnesota.

Ron Pearson, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Hy-Vee, said the company decided to link-up with ICS FoodOne because it believes the online service will "deliver very important strategic and operational benefits to us at both the headquarters and store level."

Mr. Pearson explained, "All of our stores will be able to access product-introduction and other important information far more quickly and conveniently, and with much more detail, than current methods. In addition, we anticipate significant cost savings by using ICS FoodOne.com for company-wide communications."

ICS FoodOne provides real-time electronic sales and marketing coverage, dramatically reducing time-to-shelf. While traditional sales methods take 14 to 18 weeks for full coverage of the retail channel, ICS FoodOne enables manufacturers to complete the process in just seven days.

ICS President and CEO Richard Alt welcomed Hy-Vee to the growing ICS FoodOne network, which includes Associated Grocers of Seattle, Wash., and Spartan Stores of Grand Rapids, Mich.

Mr. Alt noted that by linking up with ICS FoodOne, Hy-Vee, Associated and Spartan have moved into the forefront of the grocery industry in taking advantage of the Internet-based electronic communications and buying systems offered by ICS FoodOne.com. More than 120 manufacturers and 3,000 retailers now use ICS FoodOne to communicate, buy and sell.

An independent analysis conducted for ICS found that manufacturers, distributors and retail stores utilizing ICS FoodOne.com realize incremental sales and profits while significantly reducing internal costs for all participants.

"We are extremely pleased that Hy-Vee has joined our network," Mr. Alt said. "We believe the efficiencies and operating advantages provided by ICS FoodOne will be important contributors to Hy-Vee's future success. Their stores blanket the upper Midwest, and ICS will provide them with instantaneous information about product pricing and promotional details that is unique in the industry."

ICS FoodOne is designed to restore the frequency of retail store coverage. Rising costs have forced many manufacturers to reduce the number of sales representatives they formerly sent out to contact retail grocers. That lack of coverage often leaves retailers without dependable and up-to-date sales, pricing and promotional information.

ICS FoodOne uses Internet technology to addresses the food industry's need to get product-introduction and merchandising information from the manufacturer to the retailer. Registered users, who must be members of the grocery industry, can access this information right from their desktop using a standard Web browser.

Retailers can point-and-click to detailed information and presentations about manufacturers' offers for new product and brands, seasonal items, new packaging and displays and other merchandise news. They can then place their orders via secure Internet connection.

About Hy-Vee

Hy-Vee, Inc. is an employee-owned corporation operating more than 205 supermarkets and drugstores in seven Midwestern states. Its 1999 record $3.6 billion in sales ranks it among the top 15 supermarket chains in the U.S. and among the top 40 private companies in the world. In a recent Consumer Reports survey, customers ranked Hy-Vee among the top five supermarket chains in the nation in terms of customer service and satisfaction.

With the slogan "A Helpful Smile in Every Aisle," Hy-Vee operates supermarkets in Iowa (where about half of the chain's food markets are located), Illinois Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, and South Dakota. It also operates 26 Drug Town drugstores. The company distributes to its stores through its subsidiaries Lomar Foods (specialty foods), Perishable Distributors of Iowa (fresh foods) and Florist Distributing (floral supplies).

About ICS FoodOne

ICS FoodOne enables all supply chain participants in the global food industry to communicate and interact on a real time basis, in a single system and common language, via the Internet. ICS FoodOne is dedicated to increasing speed-to-shelf; to expanding the opportunities to build incremental volume growth through complete electronic retail coverage; and to improving time and cost efficiencies across the entire supply chain. ICS is headquartered in Norcross, GA, and is on the Web at www.icsfoodone.com.


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