Stop & Shop Notes Upgraded
's Investor Service has upgraded its rating on Stop & Shop Cos. senior subordinated notes due 2002 to Ba2 from Ba3.
Moody's, which is based in New York, said the upgrade is based on the company's leading market position, strong sales and earnings, declining leverage and the absence of major debt maturities until 1998.
"The new rating level also recognizes the company's aggressive capital expenditures program and the uncertainty associated with its majority ownership," Moody's said. Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., a New York investor group, controls more than 60% of the shares of Stop & Shop here through three of its limited partnerships.
Stop & Shop's operating margin has benefited from the increasing proportion of more profitable superstores, which now represent 85% of the chain's store base, Moody's said in a statement late last month. However, Moody's said it expects "profits to come under some short-term pressure" as Stop & Shop enters the highly competitive New York metropolitan area, which it intends to do later this year.
North West Buys Six Stores
WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- North West Co. here has acquired six stores on Kodiak Island, Alaska, from O. Kraft & Sons, Lake Oswego, Ore., for an undisclosed amount.
Among the six retail units, which generated $15 million in sales last year, are two grocery stores, two liquor stores, a convenience store and a combination liquor-grocery store, a North West spokesman said.
One of the grocery stores, a 12,000-square-foot store called City Market, will be remodeled at a cost of $1 million. This project will enlarge the selling area by about 10,000 square feet, North West said.
North West will operate the acquired units under the AC Value Center banner -- the name it already uses on 22 Alaska stores.