NEWS WATCH: ALBERTSONS TO MOVE NONFOOD JOBS TO BOISE...THIRD MARSH 'LIFESTYLE' STORE OPENS IN INDIANAPOLIS...KROGER 'MARKETPLACE' DEBUTS IN COLUMBUS

ALBERTSONS TO MOVE NONFOOD JOBS TO BOISElast week it plans to move 170 jobs in its nonfoods operation from Scottsdale, Ariz., to its store support center here in an effort to improve efficiencies. According to Larry Johnston, chairman, president and chief executive officer, "Relocating the corporate general merchandise [and] health and beauty care teams to Boise will improve category efficiency, enhance

ALBERTSONS TO MOVE NONFOOD JOBS TO BOISE

last week it plans to move 170 jobs in its nonfoods operation from Scottsdale, Ariz., to its store support center here in an effort to improve efficiencies. According to Larry Johnston, chairman, president and chief executive officer, "Relocating the corporate general merchandise [and] health and beauty care teams to Boise will improve category efficiency, enhance store performance, drive better communication processes, and ultimately deliver higher levels of customer service." The company said it expects to complete the move by early next year. The move won't affect its drug store or pharmacy businesses, which will continue to be based in Scottsdale, the company noted.

THIRD MARSH 'LIFESTYLE' STORE OPENS IN INDIANAPOLIS

INDIANAPOLIS -- Marsh Supermarkets opened another of its new "Lifestyle" supermarkets here last week featuring perishables in a central courtyard layout with grocery departments around the perimeter, according to reports. The store includes a gourmet coffee bar called The Copper Moon and emphasizes prepared foods. The 66,000-square-foot store is the third store to open featuring the design after previous openings in Noblesville and Fort Wayne, Ind. The store also will include a unit of the company's McNamara Florist concept.

KROGER 'MARKETPLACE' DEBUTS IN COLUMBUS

COLUMBUS, OHIO -- The first food and general merchandise superstore under the Kroger Marketplace banner opened here last week, officials of Cincinnati-based Kroger said. Marketplace stores are based on Kroger's Fred Meyer superstores, and have been introduced in Arizona under the Fry's Marketplace banner and in Utah under the Smith's Marketplace name. The 109,000-square-foot store is a former Big Bear location acquired by Kroger earlier this year, and includes expanded merchandise offerings, such as home and bath and office products. Additional Marketplace stores are scheduled to open next year in the Columbus market, Kroger said.

CARREFOUR BUYS IN POLAND, SELLS IN PORTUGAL

PARIS -- Carrefour here last week in separate deals purchased 13 large hypermarkets in Poland from Ahold, and sold its remaining stake in Portugal-based hypermarket chain Modelo Continente to Sonae. The Polish properties are large supercenters that trade under the Hypernova name, and will increase to 30 the number of hypermarkets Carrefour operates in Poland. No purchase price was announced for the deal, which is scheduled to close in 2005. Ahold, based in Zaandam, Netherlands, said the deal will help it retire debt and allow it to focus on operating smaller stores in Poland.

GELSON'S PARENT CONVERTS CLASS B STOCK

LOS ANGELES -- Arden Group here, the parent company of the Gelson's Markets chain, last week said all Class B shares of Arden common stock were automatically converted to Class A stock. The change was a result of a conversion of Class B shares into Class A by Bernard Briskin, Arden Group's chairman, president and chief executive officer. Briskin and his spouse held more than 99% of Arden's Class B stock. Arden last month said all Class A stockholders will receive an extraordinary dividend of $20 a share on Dec. 16.

BRUNO'S EXTENDS LABOR CONTRACT THROUGH JULY

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Bruno's here last week agreed to extend its labor contract with United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1657 through next July, according to a spokeswoman for the chain. The contract had expired in September. Ahold said it expects to name a buyer for Bruno's and its sister chain, Bi-Lo, by the end of the year.