NEWS WATCH: SUPERVALU TESTS DOLLAR ITEMS IN TRADITIONAL STORES...A&P TO PAY $242,000 TO SETTLE CHILD LABOR CHARGES...HALE-HALSELL FILES FOR CHAPTER 11 BANKRUPTCY

SUPERVALU TESTS DOLLAR ITEMS IN TRADITIONAL STOREStesting dollar store merchandise from its Deal$-Nothing Over a Dollar chain in its traditional supermarkets, the company said at an investor conference here last week. Speaking at the Merrill Lynch Retail Leaders conference, Pam Knous, executive vice president and chief operating officer, said Supervalu has added dollar merchandise in a limited number

SUPERVALU TESTS DOLLAR ITEMS IN TRADITIONAL STORES

testing dollar store merchandise from its Deal$-Nothing Over a Dollar chain in its traditional supermarkets, the company said at an investor conference here last week. Speaking at the Merrill Lynch Retail Leaders conference, Pam Knous, executive vice president and chief operating officer, said Supervalu has added dollar merchandise in a limited number of Shop 'n Save stores in St. Louis and Cub Foods stores in Minneapolis. A spokeswoman for the company said further information about the tests, which began in recent weeks, was not available. Supervalu has been combining its Save-A-Lot stores with dollar merchandise from Deal$ in combo outlets, but the new tests mark its first foray into dollar sections within traditional food stores.

A&P TO PAY $242,000 TO SETTLE CHILD LABOR CHARGES

MONTVALE, N.J. -- The Department of Justice said A&P here has agreed to pay $242,000 in penalties to settle charges that it violated child labor laws, primarily involving underage workers operating machinery. A&P declined to comment. According to the DOJ, the violations occurred between 2000 and 2003, and involved workers under age 18 operating freight lifts, cardboard-box bailers, meat slicers and dough mixers. In 1993, the company settled similar charges with a $490,000 penalty.

HALE-HALSELL FILES FOR CHAPTER 11 BANKRUPTCY

TULSA, Okla. -- Grocery wholesaler Hale-Halsell here filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last week in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, also here. The company's convenience store subsidiary, Git-N-Go, filed for bankruptcy protection last month and shuttered 40 of its 116 locations. In January, Hale-Halsell lost its biggest customer, United Supermarkets of Oklahoma, Altus, Okla. Hale-Halsell had continued to operate its 10-store Super H supermarket group, but reports indicated the company could try to reorganize around its core Git-N-Go stores. Hale-Halsell representatives declined to comment.

TOPS' NEW PROTOTYPE FEATURES GIANT ELEMENTS

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Tops Markets here has opened a new prototype store in Brook Park, Ohio, that combines elements from its sister chain, Giant Food of Carlisle, Pa. Both chains are divisions of Ahold USA, Chantilly, Va. The store includes signs and colors that are similar to those of Giant, and features a floral department at the front entrance, self-serve olive and salad bars, and computerized kiosks in the meat, seafood and deli departments for placing orders, checking ingredients, and finding recipes. Additional Tops stores using the new design are reportedly planned for North Tonawanda, N.Y., this summer and Derby, N.Y., and Dunkirk, N.Y., in 2005.