NEWS WATCH: SAFEWAY AWARDS STOCK OPTIONS TO TOP EXECUTIVES...GIANT EAGLE LAYS OFF 115 NON-STORE EMPLOYEES...PENN TRAFFIC RECEIVES REORGANIZATION PLAN EXTENSION

SAFEWAY AWARDS STOCK OPTIONS TO TOP EXECUTIVESortedly given millions of dollars in stock grants and options to 11 senior executives in an effort to retain their services. Industry sources said all 11 executives received a total of 672,865 shares of stock options at a strike price of $20.15, which is 12% below the current trading prices. They can exercise 20% of their options each year for the next

SAFEWAY AWARDS STOCK OPTIONS TO TOP EXECUTIVES

ortedly given millions of dollars in stock grants and options to 11 senior executives in an effort to retain their services. Industry sources said all 11 executives received a total of 672,865 shares of stock options at a strike price of $20.15, which is 12% below the current trading prices. They can exercise 20% of their options each year for the next five years, according to reports. In addition, eight of the 11 executives received grants of restricted stock totaling 409,352 shares, worth nearly $9.4 million -- shares that can be sold in 25% increments over the next four years. Sources said Safeway felt the stock and options awards were necessary following two years of wage freezes and undersized bonuses that were making it difficult for the chain to attract and retain top-level executives. The executives who were given the grants and options did not include Steve Burd, chairman, president and chief executive officer.

GIANT EAGLE LAYS OFF 115 NON-STORE EMPLOYEES

PITTSBURGH -- Giant Eagle here last week said it will lay off 115 management, administrative and clerical workers, the majority of them working in corporate overhead positions at the company's headquarters. A company spokesman explained, "Let's make the difficult decisions we need to now so we're not in a position where we need to take more drastic measures two to three years down the road." The spokesman also said that none of these layoffs involved the company's retail workforce.

PENN TRAFFIC RECEIVES REORGANIZATION PLAN EXTENSION

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Penn Traffic Co. here said last week a judge at U.S. Bankruptcy Court in White Plains, N.Y., has granted it an additional three months to submit a plan to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. A company spokesman told SN that Judge Adlai Hardin has agreed to extend the submission deadline from Jan. 29 to April 29. Penn Traffic, which operated 212 stores when it filed for Chapter 11 in May, would stand to emerge with 107 stores unless it closes more locations.

TOLEDO FARMER JACK STORES TO BECOME FOOD BASICS

MONTVALE, N.J. -- A&P here intends to convert three of its six Toledo, Ohio, Farmer Jack stores to its Food Basics format, according to published reports. An A&P spokeswoman was not available to comment. The reports noted that a sign company acting on the supermarket company's behalf has applied for permits to change the names of three of the Farmer Jack stores. A&P recently unveiled plans to convert 10 Farmer Jack stores in the nearby Detroit market to Food Basics, a limited-assortment concept that has been successful in Canada and has also been introduced in New York and New Jersey.

SPARTAN COMPLETES SALE OF C-STORE DISTRIBUTOR

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Spartan Stores here said last week it has completed the sale of the operating assets of United Wholesale Grocery Co., a convenience-store distributor, to an unnamed, privately held, Michigan-based company. Spartan said the sale is expected to generate net proceeds of approximately $10 million after repayment of related operating liabilities. The company noted that UWG was the only remaining piece of its C-store distribution business.

HALE-HALSELL LOSES UNITED SUPERMARKETS BUSINESS

TULSA, Okla. -- Hale-Halsell Co. here, a privately held grocery distributor, said last week it had lost the business of its principal customer, and was laying off approximately 200 workers. A company spokeswoman told SN the customer was United Supermarkets of Oklahoma, Altus, Okla., which accounted for 40% of Hale-Halsell's sales. "I am greatly disappointed that our principal customer declined to even advise us of its plans, and has refused to talk with us," said Rob Hawk, president, Hale-Halsell. A representative of United Supermarkets was not available for comment.