News Watch

STOP & SHOP AIMS TO SELL SOUTHERN N.J. STORES Stop & Shop is negotiating to sell nine stores in southern New Jersey to ShopRite operators, according to the president of the local union representing workers at the stores. Brian String, president of United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 152, told SN last week that Stop & Shop contacted the union to let it know a potential

STOP & SHOP AIMS TO SELL SOUTHERN N.J. STORES

QUINCY, Mass. — Stop & Shop here is negotiating to sell nine stores in southern New Jersey to ShopRite operators, according to the president of the local union representing workers at the stores. Brian String, president of United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 152, told SN last week that Stop & Shop contacted the union to let it know a potential deal between the parties was in the works so that the union could begin bargaining for severance, vacation and other benefits in the event of a sale or closure. Stop & Shop spokesman Robert Keane told SN the company “was evaluating our future options for our stores in southern New Jersey,” but declined further comment. Karen Meleta, a spokesman for Wakefern, the cooperative of ShopRite owners, also declined to comment. Stop & Shop, a division of Ahold, has long struggled in South Jersey, where its stores formerly operated under the Super G banner. Those stores were converted to Stop & Shops in late 2005.

DELHAIZE GROUP COMPLETES DEBT REFINANCING

BRUSSELS — Delhaize Group here last week said that its Delhaize America subsidiary had completed the repurchase of $1.1 billion in notes with funds generated from new note placements also completed last week. “This tender offer and related refinancing have improved substantially our financial flexibility and debt profile,” Pierre-Olivier Beckers, president and chief executive officer of Delhaize, said in a statement. The tender offer comprised senior notes due in 2011 and other debts due in 2031. The buyback was financed by proceeds from the sale of a series of Euro-denominated senior notes due 2014 and a series of U.S. dollar-denominated senior notes due 2017.

PATHMARK DEAL TO TRIGGER A&P STOCK BONUSES

MONTVALE, N.J. — The closing of the pending deal to acquire Pathmark will trigger several stock-based awards to executives of A&P here, the company said in a government filing. The compensation and governance committees of A&P's board of directors said the Pathmark deal will have achieved goals of a 2005 turnaround incentive plan reflecting in two-thirds of the restricted stock units to executives to vest on the first day of the 2008 and 2009 fiscal years. In addition, A&P said the first third of restricted stock units related to a 2006 long-term incentive plan will vest around May 2009. A&P officers can also receive restricted stock units as part of an integration incentive plan, the company added.

VG'S TO TAKE OVER THREE FARMER JACK LOCATIONS

FLINT, Mich. — VG's Food & Pharmacy here will buy two Farmer Jack stores in Fenton, Mich., and one in Shelby Township, Mich., from A&P, a company official said last week. VG's intends to reopen the Shelby store and one of the Fenton locations under the VG's name but has acquired the other Fenton site as a real estate investment. Also last week, Kroger began its takeover of the 20 Farmer Jack stores it agreed to buy from A&P. Kroger said six stores would be closed this week for conversion to the Kroger banner. The company intends to convert the remainder this month.

FOOD DRIVES COMP-STORE GAINS AT FAMILY DOLLAR

MATTHEWS, N.C. — Family Dollar stores that have received expanded square footage for food displays are turning stronger comparable results than the chain overall, officials of the discount chain here said last week. Family Dollar began rolling out enhanced food departments emphasizing quick-prep and ready-to-eat products this spring, “and the results have been very positive,” Howard Levine, president and chief executive officer, told analysts in a conference call reviewing the retailer's third-quarter results. Food sales helped overcome sluggish sales of other consumables during the quarter, which ended June 2, Levine added. Overall, Family Dollar reported net income of $5.7 million on sales of $60.4 million for the period.