RETAILERS SUFFER YET ANOTHER STORM

Supermarket retailers in Florida, Alabama and Mississippi were assessing the damages to their stores last week after Hurricane Ivan -- the third major storm of the season to make landfall in Florida -- slammed into the Gulf Coast.Bruno's, Birmingham, Ala., had closed 114 of its stores by late Thursday, including two that had been severely damaged, according to Joyce Smart, a spokeswoman for the Ahold-owned

Supermarket retailers in Florida, Alabama and Mississippi were assessing the damages to their stores last week after Hurricane Ivan -- the third major storm of the season to make landfall in Florida -- slammed into the Gulf Coast.

Bruno's, Birmingham, Ala., had closed 114 of its stores by late Thursday, including two that had been severely damaged, according to Joyce Smart, a spokeswoman for the Ahold-owned chain.

"We have a lot of repair work to do," she told SN. "We have one store where the roof was blown off."

Winn-Dixie Stores, Jacksonville, Fla., also had closed some stores, but did not yet have a report on the full extent of the damages Thursday.

Wal-Mart Stores, Bentonville, Ark., said Thursday that 77 of its roughly 600 facilities -- including stores and warehouses -- in the Southeast were closed, mostly due to power outages.

"We haven't had any major reports of damage," said a Wal-Mart spokeswoman. "A lot of our stores don't have power. That's why they're closed."

The most powerful portion of the storm missed the areas of Florida that had previously suffered extensive damage from Hurricanes Charley and Frances, which cut a huge "X" across the state in back-to-back rampages in the weeks before Ivan arrived.

The storm also missed New Orleans, which officials feared could suffer extensive damage if it took a direct hit from a hurricane because of its low elevation.

"We were very fortunate that the storm veered considerably eastward," said J.H. "Jay" Campbell, president and chief executive officer, Associated Grocers of Baton Rouge, La.

He said "fewer than 10" of the co-op's member stores were closed on Thursday, although he said he hadn't received final reports from certain areas because of the number of phone lines down.