NEWS WATCH: H-E-B DEBUTS NEW HISPANIC BANNER IN TEXAS...BRISTOL FARMS OPENS FIRST NORTHERN CALIF. STORE...UNITED NATURAL, WHOLE FOODS IN SEVEN-YEAR PACT

H-E-B Debuts New Hispanic Banner in Texase opened its first Hispanic store last week - Mi Tienda (My House) - which it said it regards as the Latino version of its Central Market stores. The company indicated it plans to open at least four more Mi Tiendas around the state. The 63,000-square-foot store, in Pasadena, Texas, a Houston suburb, had operated as a conventional H-E-B before being converted

H-E-B Debuts New Hispanic Banner in Texas

e opened its first Hispanic store last week - Mi Tienda (My House) - which it said it regards as the Latino version of its Central Market stores. The company indicated it plans to open at least four more Mi Tiendas around the state. The 63,000-square-foot store, in Pasadena, Texas, a Houston suburb, had operated as a conventional H-E-B before being converted to the new format. The company chose that location because Latinos make up 70% of the residents living within three miles of the store, company officials told a local newspaper. The store features fresh Mexican and Cuban prepared foods, Mexican-style baked goods and general merchandise, Mexican decor and a money-wiring service.

Bristol Farms Opens First Northern Calif. Store

CARSON, Calif. - Bristol Farms here said it has opened its first store in Northern California - which is also its first store inside a mall - on the concourse level of the city's new Westfield San Francisco Centre. The eight-story center is located next to a new five-story Bloomingdale's in an area Kevin Davis, Bristol's chairman, president and chief executive officer, called "the focal point of the city's shopping district." The 30,000-square-foot store is the chain's 14th location in the state and, now that Bristol Farms is a wholly owned subsidiary of Supervalu, the store also marks Supervalu's entry into Northern California.

United Natural, Whole Foods in Seven-Year Pact

DAYVILLE, Conn. - United Natural Foods here said last week that it has agreed to a new supply contract with Whole Foods Market, its largest retail customer. The new pact will last through Sept. 29, 2013, and replaces the current one, set to expire Dec. 31. According to United Natural, the deal calls for the distributor to be the primary natural grocery distributor to Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods in all U.S. areas where UNF currently serves the retailer.

Former Kmart Executives Face Trial: Reports

FLINT, Mich. - Former Kmart executives Charles Conaway and John McDonald have been ordered to stand trial to face charges that they misled investors in the period before the retailer filed Chapter 11, according to reports. Conaway, the former chief executive officer, and McDonald, the former chief financial officer, had asked the court to dismiss a civil complaint filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission last year. The SEC said the two made false statements about the company's financial condition during a Nov. 21, 2001, conference call, just two months before the company filed bankruptcy. It has since merged into Sears Holdings Corp., Hoffman Estates, Ill.

ShopRite Operator Boosts Sales, Profits in Q4

SPRINGFIELD, N.J. - Village Super Market here last week said its same-store sales rose 3.7% in the fourth quarter, which ended July 29, helping drive a 6% gain in net income, to about $5 million, compared with the fourth quarter of a year ago. Sales at the 23-store ShopRite operator also grew 3.7%, to $262.5 million. For the year, net income totaled $16.5 million, including $890,000 received from a partnership. Excluding the partnership income, net income was up 13%, as sales reached just over $1 billion, an increase of 3.4% over the preceding year.

Error Causes Wal-Mart to Lower Sales Estimates

BENTONVILLE, Ark. - Comparable-sales figures for the month of September reported by Wal-Mart Stores last week were 1.3%, not the 1.8% the retailer had initially estimated, due to a coding error made during its initial calculations, the retailer here said last week. The error was the result of 235 Sam's Club and Wal-Mart stores that were mis-coded, the company said.