NEWS WATCH: A&P, DI GIORGIO END GROCERY SUPPLY AGREEMENT...ALBERTSONS LAYS OFF SOME CORPORATE STAFF...MILWAUKEE JEWEL WORKERS VOTE AGAINST STRIKE

A&P, DI GIORGIO END GROCERY SUPPLY AGREEMENTr Di Giorgio Corp., Carteret, N.J., will end their supply agreement in about three weeks, Di Giorgio said in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing last week. According to reports, A&P will transition that portion of its business to C&S Wholesale Grocers, Brattleboro, Vt. The supply arrangement with A&P accounted for $388.5 million of Di Giorgio's $1.56

A&P, DI GIORGIO END GROCERY SUPPLY AGREEMENT

r Di Giorgio Corp., Carteret, N.J., will end their supply agreement in about three weeks, Di Giorgio said in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing last week. According to reports, A&P will transition that portion of its business to C&S Wholesale Grocers, Brattleboro, Vt. The supply arrangement with A&P accounted for $388.5 million of Di Giorgio's $1.56 billion in revenues last year, Di Giorgio said. The wholesaler said it would "continue to be profitable and in compliance with all of its financial covenants." It said it was planning expansion into New England, where C&S has a strong presence. Di Giorgio also said it was seeking to retain the supply arrangements with one of A&P's divisions. Neither A&P nor C&S could be reached for comment.

ALBERTSONS LAYS OFF SOME CORPORATE STAFF

BOISE, Idaho -- Albertsons here said it has laid off some headquarters staff, but declined to disclose either the number of employees or the types of positions involved. According to a company spokeswoman, "As a result of increasing competition in the grocery and drug store retail industries, we are looking to any and all opportunities to lower costs without affecting customers."

MILWAUKEE JEWEL WORKERS VOTE AGAINST STRIKE

MELROSE PARK, Ill. -- Jewel, the Midwestern subsidiary of Albertsons, Boise, Idaho, said last week that members of United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1444 have voted against authorizing a strike at the company's Milwaukee-area supermarkets. By refusing to authorize a strike, the workers automatically accepted a contract they had rejected in September, according to a spokeswoman for Jewel, based here. "We're pleased that after one-and-a-half years of negotiation, we have an agreement," she said. Representatives of Local 1444 were not available for comment. Earlier this month, Dan Welch, president of Local 1444, had told SN that the workers had voted against the contract because it would limit top-wage employees to a 50-cents-per-hour raise, and move workers' health care from a multi-employer plan to a single-employer plan.

ZAGARA'S FRESH MARKETS FILES FOR CHAPTER 11

MT. LAUREL, N.J. -- Zagara's Fresh Markets here has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, according to published reports. Representatives of the company were not available for comment. Founded by John Zagara as a farmers' market in 1974, the company was acquired by Genuardi's Family Markets, Norristown, Pa., in 1977, which proceeded to open three additional locations. Safeway acquired Genuardi's in 2001, and last year sold three Zagara's stores to a group of investors.

CONGRESSIONAL GOLF TOURNEY BENEFITS FOOD FOR ALL

FALLS CHURCH, Va. -- The Second Annual Congressional Golf Tournament attracted more than 70 congressman and food-distribution industry leaders for a day of golf at Lowes Island Club, Sterling, Va., late last month. Proceeds of the tournament benefited Food For All's programs. Food For All, based here, is the food industry's anti-hunger initiative. Denis Zegar, president of the program, said, "This event is quickly becoming a favorite among food-industry executives and members of Congress." The tournament has raised more than $100,000. Sponsoring industry companies were Unified Western Grocers, Georgia Pacific, McCormick, ConAgra Foods, Kraft, Hershey Foods, Campbell Sales Co., Unilever, Masterfoods USA, D'Agostino's and Kellogg. Trade association sponsors were Food Marketing Institute, Grocery Manufacturers of America and International Foodservice Distributors Association.