NEWSWATCH

THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS of two West Coast retailer-owned cooperatives -- Certified Grocers of California, Los Angeles, and United Grocers, Portland, Ore. -- have scheduled meetings this week to vote on the proposed merger of the two companies. UG's board is scheduled to meet tomorrow, and Certified's board on Wednesday. If the two boards approve the merger, they will file documents with the Securities

THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS of two West Coast retailer-owned cooperatives -- Certified Grocers of California, Los Angeles, and United Grocers, Portland, Ore. -- have scheduled meetings this week to vote on the proposed merger of the two companies. UG's board is scheduled to meet tomorrow, and Certified's board on Wednesday. If the two boards approve the merger, they will file documents with the Securities and Exchange Commission and then, after a 30-day waiting period, schedule shareholder meetings for members of each cooperative to vote on the merger. If all goes smoothly, a Certified spokesman told SN, the merger should be completed by late July or early August.

, Associated Grocers and Supervalu. The vote to reject was 740-584, the union said. Don Williams, a business agent with Local 174, Seattle, said the proposed contract raised the amount of break-in pay but maintained the same four-year duration, while the union would prefer a two-year duration with a higher rate. The contract, which expired April 30, covers 2,000 teamsters in Locals 117, 174, 313 and 599 in the Seattle-Tacoma area and Local 524 in Yakima, Wash.

AMERICAN STORES CO., Salt Lake City, said it will not schedule an annual meeting this year due to its pending merger with Albertson's, Boise, Idaho. Because there will be no meeting, the company said it will not mail an annual report or proxy statement to shareholders.

RICHFOOD HOLDINGS, Richmond, Va., said last week it has struck a deal to sell its three Rack & Sack warehouse stores to Community Pride Food Stores, an inner-city chain in Richmond, Va. The sale is expected to be completed by the end of May. The three Rack & Sack stores, all in Richmond, were acquired by Richfood last year as part of its buyout of Farm Fresh, Norfolk, Va. Richfood said it is selling the three stores because of its concern about their impact on Richmond-based Ukrop's Super Markets, one of Richfood's largest volume customers. Community Pride said it will retain the Rack & Sack name and operate those three stores and its seven Community Pride units as part of Marketplace Holdings, a newly formed company.

AHOLD ACQUISITION, a wholly owned subsidiary of Netherlands-based Ahold that was formed to acquire Pathmark Stores, Carteret, N.J., said last week it has signed a memorandum of understanding with holders of the preferred stock of Pathmark's parent company, Supermarkets General Holdings Corp., to settle a purported class-action suit. In that suit, preferred shareholders sought 100 cents on the dollar for their stock before common shareholders got paid. Under last week's settlement -- subject to approval by the Court of Chancery of Delaware -- Ahold said it will increase the offer price for the preferred shares by $2 per share to $40.25, less legal fees, which could ultimately reduce the price by up to 40 cents per share. Ahold said it will reduce the amount paid to common shareholders accordingly, so the total price for the acquisition will remain approximately $250 million plus assumption of $1.5 billion in Pathmark debt. As a result of last week's proposed settlement, Ahold said it is extending its tender offer for the preferred stock until Sept. 3, rather than the original expiration date last Friday.

PRIME MARKETING, Farmingdale, N.Y., said last week it has begun development of Online Specialty Grocery, which will offer delicacies from around the world shipped directly to customers' homes. Prime Market, a food-service management company, said its research indicates a strong demand for high-quality ethnic and specialty foods, especially outside major metropolitan areas. The Web site address will be www.foodsoftheworld.net.