NEWS WATCH: C&S PLANS TO CLOSE MAINE WAREHOUSE IN MAY...AHOLD REACHES AGREEMENT TO SELL ARGENTINEAN CHAIN...VONS.COM EXECUTIVES TO DELIVER ROSES, CHOCOLATES

C&S PLANS TO CLOSE MAINE WAREHOUSE IN MAYcers here said it is planning to close its Portland, Maine, warehouse in early May. C&S acquired the facility in September in an asset swap with Supervalu, Minneapolis. "Continuing to keep the facility open was not an economically viable alternative for our company," a C&S spokesman said. The announcement follows the closure of two other former Supervalu warehouses

C&S PLANS TO CLOSE MAINE WAREHOUSE IN MAY

cers here said it is planning to close its Portland, Maine, warehouse in early May. C&S acquired the facility in September in an asset swap with Supervalu, Minneapolis. "Continuing to keep the facility open was not an economically viable alternative for our company," a C&S spokesman said. The announcement follows the closure of two other former Supervalu warehouses in Andover, Mass., and Cranston, R.I. C&S will supply customers from warehouses in Connecticut and in Brattleboro, sources said.

AHOLD REACHES AGREEMENT TO SELL ARGENTINEAN CHAIN

ZAANDAM, Netherlands -- Ahold here said it has reached an agreement to sell its controlling stake in Disco, an Argentinean supermarket chain, to Chile-based retailer Cencosud. Ahold said the value of the transaction, which is expected to close before the end of 2004, is approximately $315 million. The company said the transaction is subject to local antitrust approval and the absence of any court orders prohibiting the sale; Ahold said court orders in Argentina and Uruguay may prevent the sale, and, if so, they will have to be addressed prior to the closing. Last year, Cencosud acquired Ahold's stake in Santa Isabel, a Chilean supermarket chain.

VONS.COM EXECUTIVES TO DELIVER ROSES, CHOCOLATES

ARCADIA, Calif. -- Vons.com, the online grocery delivery service of Vons and Pavilions, subsidiaries of Safeway, Pleasanton, Calif., said last week customers scheduling delivery for this morning will receive a dozen roses and a box of chocolates free from the company. Vons.com said the promotion marks the return of the online service, which was suspended when the Southern California supermarket strike-lockout began Oct. 11. Some of the deliveries this morning will be accompanied by flower- and chocolate-bearing company executives, including Mitch Rhodes, president, Vons.com. All customers who place orders for delivery by Friday will receive a free long-stem rose from Vons.com.

STATER BROS. PLANS NEW DISTRIBUTION CENTER

COLTON, Calif. -- Stater Bros. Markets here said last week it has signed an agreement in principal to acquire and develop approximately 160 acres for new general offices and a distribution center on a site that is part of the former Norton Air Force Base in San Bernardino. The site is about 10 miles from the chain's existing general office and distribution center here. Jack Brown, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Stater Bros., said the distribution center will be the largest grocery facility in Southern California, covering 2.2 million square feet, or approximately 8.4 million cubic feet of warehouse space. It will replace the chain's 1.6-million-square-foot facility here, which was built in 1961, and eight smaller satellite warehouses. The new facility will be built in two phases, the company said, with the initial warehouse covering 1.7 million square feet.