News Watch

WINN-DIXIE EMERGES FROM BANKRUPTCY PROTECTION JACKSONVILLE, Fla. Winn-Dixie Stores last week emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and closed on a $725 million exit financing facility. Today marks the end of one chapter and the start of a new beginning for Winn-Dixie, Peter Lynch, chairman and chief executive officer of Winn-Dixie here, said in a statement. Winn-Dixie said it would issue 54.5

WINN-DIXIE EMERGES FROM BANKRUPTCY PROTECTION

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Winn-Dixie Stores last week emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and closed on a $725 million exit financing facility. “Today marks the end of one chapter and the start of a new beginning for Winn-Dixie,” Peter Lynch, chairman and chief executive officer of Winn-Dixie here, said in a statement. Winn-Dixie said it would issue 54.5 million new shares of stock within 45 days that will trade on the NASDAQ exchange under the symbol WINN. Shares last week were trading on a “when issued” basis on over-the-counter exchanges under the WINNV symbol. Winn-Dixie filed for Chapter 11 in February of 2005. In the 21 months since then, the retailer closed or sold nearly 400 stores.

DOLLAR TREE STORES TO ACCELERATE FREEZER ROLLOUT

CHESAPEAKE, Va. — Dollar Tree Stores said it would accelerate its rollout of refrigerated and frozen foods at its stores, noting the additional products are increasing store traffic and average ticket, Bob Sasser, president and chief executive officer, said in a conference call last week. Dollar Tree added freezers and coolers to 170 stores during the fiscal third quarter that ended Oct. 28 and expects to end the year with frozen and refrigerated products in about 640 stores, or 150 more than initially forecast. Dollar Tree said strong sales of Halloween goods helped boost quarterly sales by 14.3% to $910.4 million, with comparable-store sales increasing by 4%.

TRADER JOE'S TO OPEN TWO STORES IN CHARLOTTE AREA

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Trader Joe's will enter this market next year with two stores — one each in the University City and South Charlotte areas, according to local reports. The Monrovia, Calif.-based chain, which has nearly 250 stores in 19 states, does not yet operate any locations in North Carolina. Harris Teeter and Food Lion are the dominant chains in Charlotte; Earth Fare and Lowes have also been adding stores there recently. Trader Joe's has a third North Carolina site slated to open soon in the Raleigh market, according to its website.

WAL-MART EXTENDS ROLLBACKS TO GROCERY PRODUCTS

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Wal-Mart Stores here last week extended its wave of price cuts to hundreds of fresh and shelf-stable grocery items targeted to holiday-season shoppers. Unveiled two days before Thanksgiving, the double-digit price cuts cover such products as packaged poultry offerings, barbecue rib packages, stuffing, cranberry sauce, crackers and chocolate bars. The so-called “price rollbacks” follow similar initiatives in toys and other key holiday categories.

H-E-B TO BREAK NEW AD CAMPAIGN WITH NBA'S SPURS

SAN ANTONIO — H.E. Butt Grocery Co. here last week launched a new series of television ads promoting a new slogan, “My H-E-B,” and referencing the “viral video” craze. The campaign features commercials filmed to resemble homemade videos. A series of ads featuring members of the NBA's San Antonio Spurs basketball team broke last week. Next year, H-E-B will invite shoppers to create and submit their own commercials to post on the H-E-B website. Website visitors will then vote for their favorites, with the winners to be aired on television, H-E-B said.

PA. GROCERY INITIATIVE WINS ‘SMART GROWTH‘ RECOGNITION

HARRISBURG, Pa. — A state program providing assistance for grocery stores to open in underserved neighborhoods was awarded the Environmental Protection Agency's 2006 National Award for Smart Growth Achievement, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development here. The Fresh Food Financing Initiative has funded 11 supermarkets, generating around $46 million in investments since its inception in early 2004, according to the state. The program uses state funds and grants from private and public sources to connect supermarket operators, developers and communities.