APPLETREE COMPLETES SALE OF 26 STORES

HOUSTON -- AppleTree Markets here completed the sale of 26 of its 49 stores last week, with the sale of 15 more likely to close next week.And, in the wake of the chain's downsizing, R. Howard Stanworth has resigned as chairman and chief executive officer "to pursue other interests," Rich Geoggel, vice president and treasurer, told SN. The resignation took effect late last month.Succeeding Stanworth,

HOUSTON -- AppleTree Markets here completed the sale of 26 of its 49 stores last week, with the sale of 15 more likely to close next week.

And, in the wake of the chain's downsizing, R. Howard Stanworth has resigned as chairman and chief executive officer "to pursue other interests," Rich Geoggel, vice president and treasurer, told SN. The resignation took effect late last month.

Succeeding Stanworth, with the title of president and CEO, is Tony Kubicek, formerly chief financial officer. Approximately three other people, who worked in store support positions, have left the corporate staff in the last few weeks, Geoggel said.

In transactions that closed last week, Kroger Co. took over 11 locations; Gerland's added four; Fiesta Mart added four; Rice Food Markets took three, and four independents took one apiece. The value of the transactions was not known.

The sale of 15 stores to Randall's is expected to close next week, which would leave AppleTree with eight locations, one of which is likely to be sold to Gerland's, pending a final decision by the store's landlord later this month, Geoggel said.

AppleTree has no deadline for disposing of its last seven locations, he added, and it plans to operate them indefinitely.

AppleTree is continuing to advertise in mailers, and as it reduces the number of stores, it reduces the number of ZIP codes to which the mailers are sent, he explained.

AppleTree was formed in 1988 in a leveraged buyout of the Houston division of Safeway, Oakland, Calif., but fell into default on interest payments in June 1991 and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January 1992.

It emerged from Chapter 11 in September 1992 after downsizing from 94 to 50 units, selling off its manufacturing facilities and rejecting its union contract.