NEWS WATCH: REPORTS: FARMER JACK EMPLOYEES APPROVE 5% PAY CUT...AHOLD IN DISCUSSIONS ON SALE OF ARGENTINEAN CHAIN

REPORTS: FARMER JACK EMPLOYEES APPROVE 5% PAY CUTion of A&P, Montvale, N.J., have ratified a new labor contract that will reduce wages by 5%, according to reports. The cuts, which affect nearly 10,000 workers at the 106-unit chain, are to be restored in 2005, with another 5% increase set for 2006 and a 25-cents-per-hour raise in the first six months of 2007. A spokeswoman for United Food & Commercial

REPORTS: FARMER JACK EMPLOYEES APPROVE 5% PAY CUT

ion of A&P, Montvale, N.J., have ratified a new labor contract that will reduce wages by 5%, according to reports. The cuts, which affect nearly 10,000 workers at the 106-unit chain, are to be restored in 2005, with another 5% increase set for 2006 and a 25-cents-per-hour raise in the first six months of 2007. A spokeswoman for United Food & Commercial Workers Local 876, Dearborn Heights, Mich., could not be reached for comment, and a spokeswoman for Farmer Jack declined to comment. Separately, A&P was reported to be considering converting some of the Farmer Jack locations to its Food Basics limited-assortment concept.

AHOLD IN DISCUSSIONS ON SALE OF ARGENTINEAN CHAIN

ZAANDAM, Netherlands -- Ahold last week said it is in exclusive negotiations with joint prospective buyers, the investor Francisco de Narvaez and Casino Guichard Perrachon S.A., for the sale of Ahold's controlling stake in Disco S.A., its Argentinean retail chain. The planned sale of Disco S.A. is part of Ahold's strategic plan to divest underperforming assets and concentrate on its mature and most stable markets. Ahold also said its new 300 million euro and $1.45 billion back-up credit facility with a syndicate of banks has closed. The outstanding letters of credit have been rolled into the new facility.