CUB'S TALE

MINNEAPOLIS -- The civil case that Cub Foods, the local retail subsidiary of Supervalu here, has filed in district court in St. Paul, Minn., against Rainbow Foods, the local retail subsidiary of Fleming, Dallas, has the heft of a midsized city's phone directory.of the Thursday Ad Meetings I attended during my 14 months as GM/HBC director, a corporate officer of Rainbow passed out a photocopy of a

MINNEAPOLIS -- The civil case that Cub Foods, the local retail subsidiary of Supervalu here, has filed in district court in St. Paul, Minn., against Rainbow Foods, the local retail subsidiary of Fleming, Dallas, has the heft of a midsized city's phone directory.

of the Thursday Ad Meetings I attended during my 14 months as GM/HBC director, a corporate officer of Rainbow passed out a photocopy of a handwritten sheet of paper to the people attending. That handwritten sheet listed the products and prices featured in the Cub Foods insert ad that would be included in the upcoming Sunday's newspapers."

Hasdal said he didn't know how Rainbow obtained the Cub ads until he attended a meeting "in the late summer or early fall of 2001" in the offices of H. Brooks and Co., a St. Paul-based wholesale produce supplier.

According to Hasdal, a Brooks executive "came into the room. He had the actual Cub Foods insert ad for the following Sunday with him." The list was then passed around the room for the Rainbow executives to review, Hasdal recalled.

"As was the usual practice, the group discussed the Cub Foods ad and decided what Rainbow's response should be," he said.

Cub also compiled for the court a list showing a variety of occasions when Rainbow published run-of-book ads with prices just slightly lower than those promised in Cub's inserts appearing in the Sunday editions of the Twin Cities' two principal newspapers: the Minneapolis Star Tribune and the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Sometimes Rainbow's run-of-book prices were also lower than those in Rainbow's insert. Other times, the items weren't mentioned in the Rainbow insert and, from time to time, the Rainbow insert simply advised readers to look for another Rainbow ad with a special low price.

On April 8, 2001, a week before Easter, the Cub insert offered a 24-pack of Coca-Cola products for $3.99. Rainbow's insert offered a 24-pack of Pepsi products for $5.48, but Rainbow's run-of-book ad lowered the price to $3.98.

The same weekend, Cub's insert offered a particular brand of ham at 68 cents a pound. Rainbow's insert proclaimed: "Look in Tuesday's Star Tribune or Pioneer Press for lowest ham prices in town." Readers, however, did not have to wait until midweek. In the Sunday Pioneer Press, Rainbow had a run-of-book ad offering the same brand of ham as Cub for a penny less.