COBORN'S CAPS CONVERSION OF HOLIDAY UNITS

ST. CLOUD, Minn. -- Coborn's here said it has completed the conversion of six former Holiday Stationstores to the Coborn's and Cash Wise banners.Don Wetter, president of the 21-store chain, said he anticipates the addition of the six stores will enable Coborn's to increase sales by 12% this year -- which observers said would be equivalent to about $40 million on top of the chain's estimated pre-acquisition

ST. CLOUD, Minn. -- Coborn's here said it has completed the conversion of six former Holiday Stationstores to the Coborn's and Cash Wise banners.

Don Wetter, president of the 21-store chain, said he anticipates the addition of the six stores will enable Coborn's to increase sales by 12% this year -- which observers said would be equivalent to about $40 million on top of the chain's estimated pre-acquisition total of $326 million.

The addition of the six stores has enabled Coborn's to increase total square footage by about one-third, to 750,000 square feet, Wetter said.

Four of the stores -- in Mora, Long Prairie, Morris and Princeton, Minn., which range in size from 18,000 to 25,000 square feet -- have reopened under the conventional Coborn's banner, while two others -- in the 50,000-square-foot range in Austin, Minn., and Bismarck, N.D. -- are operating under the Cash Wise warehouse format.

Holiday Stationstores was a retail division of Holiday Cos., Minneapolis, which earlier this year sold the food sections at four Holiday Plus stores in Minneapolis to Sid Applebaum. Holiday also operates Fairway Foods, a Northfield, Minn.-based wholesaler. Under the purchase agreement, Coborn's made Fairway its primary supplier rather than buying almost equally from Fairway and Nash Finch Co., Minneapolis.

Fairway supplied eight of the Coborn's stores. Nash Finch continues as a secondary supplier for the chain, Wetter said. With the acquisition, Coborn's has 11 stores operating under the Coborn's banner, all in Minnesota, and 10 Cash Wise units, plus 11 Little Dukes convenience stores and 11 liquor stores.