NEWS WATCH

A&P SEEKING TO SELL 31 KOHL'S STORES: REPORTSng to sell 31 Kohl's grocery stores in Wisconsin, according to local newspaper reports. The company could not be reached for comment on the rumors. Talk of the sale has been circulating for at least a week and was bolstered by reports last week that the company had transferred Glenn Dickson, the former head of the Kohl's chain, to A&P's Southern division

A&P SEEKING TO SELL 31 KOHL'S STORES: REPORTS

ng to sell 31 Kohl's grocery stores in Wisconsin, according to local newspaper reports. The company could not be reached for comment on the rumors. Talk of the sale has been circulating for at least a week and was bolstered by reports last week that the company had transferred Glenn Dickson, the former head of the Kohl's chain, to A&P's Southern division in Jefferson, La. A&P recently said it would consider asset sales to finance its turnaround efforts. Reported potential buyers for Kohl's include Jewel Food Stores, a division of Albertsons, Boise, Idaho; and Roundy's, Pewaukee, Wis. Albertsons declined to comment, and Roundy's could not be reached for comment.

WEGMANS KILLS PLAN FOR MARYLAND STORE

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Wegmans Food Markets here said it has withdrawn its plans to build a 130,000-square-foot supermarket about 10 miles north of Baltimore in Timonium, Md., because of opposition from community groups. A Wegmans spokeswoman said the company still hopes to open its first Maryland store somewhere in Baltimore County. The community groups had expressed concern that the store, which would have been built on 20 acres previously zoned for industrial use, would have increased traffic congestion, according to the spokeswoman.

FOOD-INDUSTRY MERGERS DOWN 19% IN 2002

ELMWOOD PARK, N.J. -- Merger and acquisition activity in the food industry in 2002 was down 19% from 2001 levels, according to a report from the Food Institute here last week. The nonprofit research firm counted 416 transactions, 100 fewer than in the preceding year. Food retailers made 26 acquisitions, down 42% from 2001 and 50% from 2000.

AWI, TEAMSTERS AGREE TO NEW CONTRACTS

ROBESONIA, Pa. -- Associated Wholesalers here and Teamster Local 429 announced jointly last week that they have reached agreement on new, four-year contracts covering warehouse workers, drivers and maintenance employees. Chris Michael, president and chief executive officer, AWI, said that although the new agreement included wage increases for employees, "it is part of a long-term strategy of cost-containment that will help keep our members' cost-of-goods low." The company declined to discuss specific contract terms, and the union could not be reached for comment.

REPORT: NLRB FILES COMPLAINT AGAINST BIGG'S

CINCINNATI -- The National Labor Relations Board has reportedly accused bigg's here, a division of Supervalu, Minneapolis, of unfair labor practices. In a complaint filed last week, the NLRB said officials at bigg's discouraged employees who attempted to organize store workers, according to an article in the Cincinnati Enquirer. Supervalu could not be reached for comment.