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GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) _ ShopKo Stores Inc. has appointed a retail veteran to head merchandising, marketing, store operations and other duties.

Gary Ramsey will become president and chief operating officer at ShopKo Division, a position which has been open since William Podany was appointed chairman, president and chief executive of ShopKo Stores in March 1999, said ShopKo spokeswoman Sheree Olson. Ramsey will report to Podany.

Ramsey, 58, has held senior executive positions at Sears, Roebuck and Co., Montgomery Ward and Garden Ridge Corp., a chain of decorating accessory megastores.

ShopKo Stores operates 370 retail stores in 23 states, primarily in the Midwest, Western Mountain and Pacific Northwest regions. Retail operations include 141 specialty discount stores operating under the ShopKo name and 229 Pamida discount stores in smaller, rural communities.