NEW MERCHANDISING AT PATHMARK

CARTERET, N.J. -- New merchandising sets and a labor buyout are among the first items on the agenda for John Standley, the newly installed chief executive officer of Pathmark here.to display "focused value concepts," consistent at all its stores, Standley said last week in a conference call discussing financial results for the second quarter ended July 30.In addition, Pathmark in coming weeks plans

CARTERET, N.J. -- New merchandising sets and a labor buyout are among the first items on the agenda for John Standley, the newly installed chief executive officer of Pathmark here.

to display "focused value concepts," consistent at all its stores, Standley said last week in a conference call discussing financial results for the second quarter ended July 30.

In addition, Pathmark in coming weeks plans to offer a buyout of between 150 and 200 senior employees -- a move that will cost between $4.5 million and $5 million, said Frank Vitrano, Pathmark's chief financial officer. According to Vitrano, the move could be saving Pathmark money by December of this year.

Slow sales particularly in dairy, pharmacy and non-food departments contributed to a $5.1 million loss on sales of $1 billion during Pathmark's fiscal second quarter ended July 30, the company said. Overall sales decreased by 1.1% and comparable-store sales fell by 2% as compared to the same period a year ago -- a trend the company acknowledged has continued into the third quarter.

For the six-month period, sales of $2 billion were essentially flat from the same period a year ago.