NEWS WATCH: MINYARD TO CONVERT 11 STORES TO CARNIVAL BANNER ... WAL-MART TO OPEN 'ENVIRONMENTAL' SUPERCENTER ... HOME DEPOT TO TEST C-STORES AT FOUR SITES ...

MINYARD TO CONVERT 11 STORES TO CARNIVAL BANNERwill convert 11 of its Minyard's and Sack n' Save stores to its Hispanic-focused Carnival banner, according to reports. The conversions, expected to begin this fall, would increase the number of Carnival stores to 35 and serve growing Hispanic populations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Ron Johnson, president and chief operating officer of the 69-store

MINYARD TO CONVERT 11 STORES TO CARNIVAL BANNER

will convert 11 of its Minyard's and Sack n' Save stores to its Hispanic-focused Carnival banner, according to reports. The conversions, expected to begin this fall, would increase the number of Carnival stores to 35 and serve growing Hispanic populations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Ron Johnson, president and chief operating officer of the 69-store chain, said in an article in the Star-Telegram newspaper. Minyard, acquired last year by Texas-based investors, operates 24 Carnival stores, 25 Minyard's and 19 Sack n' Save locations. A spokesman for Minyard could not be reached for comment.

WAL-MART TO OPEN 'ENVIRONMENTAL' SUPERCENTER

BENTONVILLE, Ark. -- Wal-Mart Stores here said it will open a supercenter in McKinney, Texas, on July 20 that will incorporate a series of environmental experiments in its design -- "a store [that] could profoundly change the way the retail industry designs, constructs and manages facilities as it relates to environmental sustainability," the company said in a statement. Wal-Mart said the store will incorporate experiments from 21 companies involving new equipment and technology on the inside and outside, including the use of wind energy, solar energy, irrigation systems, bioswale and wetland areas, and a rainwater harvesting pond.

HOME DEPOT TO TEST C-STORES AT FOUR SITES

ATLANTA -- Add Home Depot to the list of potential food-dollar competitors. The home-improvement retailer based here will begin to test four gas station and convenience store locations on pads in the Nashville, Tenn., area, according to published reports. The stores are scheduled to begin construction in September and open for business in December. Two of the locations will include car washes.

THREE KMART SUPERCENTERS SET TO CLOSE

TROY, Mich. -- Kmart here said it would close three Super Kmart stores in the Memphis, Tenn., area, fueling speculation that the discounter will eventually exit the grocery business completely. Super Kmart stores, which include a full offering of groceries, have been in decline since the retailer emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2003, after which several were closed and/or sold. Stores set to close in the next 90 days are located in Memphis; Cordova, Tenn.; and South Haven, Miss. Aylwin Lewis, chief executive officer of retail for Sears Holdings, Kmart's new corporate parent, told SN last year that the company was evaluating the future of the Super Kmart concept.

WILD OATS TO REPAY NOTES, DEBUT HENRY'S REMODELS

BOULDER, Colo. -- Wild Oats Markets here will pay back the $115 million in principal of its 3.25% senior bank notes due in 2034, the retailer said in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. The retailer also told the SEC it had amended certain conditions of a loan agreement. Wild Oats also said last week it would open remodeled Henry's Farmers Market locations later this month in Encinitas, Calif., and Poway, Calif. The two stores will have a new layout to improve traffic flow; enhanced meat and seafood counters; bigger bakeries; and islands that will feature rotating theme-based meals.

TIDYMAN'S TO CLOSE TWO MONTANA STORES

SPOKANE, Wash. -- A Tidyman's Northwest Fresh store in Missoula, Mont., and a County Market discount store in Helena, Mont., are slated to close this week, reports said. The stores are operated by Tidyman's, an employee-owned company based here. A Tidyman's spokeswoman said competition and declining sales forced the closure of the two stores. Tidyman's operates 14 stores in Montana, Idaho and Washington under four banners.