SUPERVALU BACK IN DOMINICK'S HUNT: REPORT...IRI ACQUIRED BY INVESTMENT GROUP...SUNFLOWER PLANS TO GROW IN SOUTHWEST

SUPERVALU BACK IN DOMINICK'S HUNT: REPORTurfaced in published reports as a contender for the acquisition of Dominick's Finer Foods, the Chicago-area subsidiary of Safeway, Pleasanton, Calif. The reports said Safeway was expected to announce last week to the unions representing Dominick's workers that Supervalu is a prospective buyer. Supervalu and Safeway declined to comment, and the union locals

SUPERVALU BACK IN DOMINICK'S HUNT: REPORT

urfaced in published reports as a contender for the acquisition of Dominick's Finer Foods, the Chicago-area subsidiary of Safeway, Pleasanton, Calif. The reports said Safeway was expected to announce last week to the unions representing Dominick's workers that Supervalu is a prospective buyer. Supervalu and Safeway declined to comment, and the union locals could not be reached for comment. Safeway said last year it retained Morgan Stanley to assist in the sale of the 113-store chain, which it acquired in 1998 for $1.85 billion. Other previously reported suitors for Dominick's have included leveraged buyout specialists Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., New York, and Yucaipa Cos., Los Angeles.

IRI ACQUIRED BY INVESTMENT GROUP

CHICAGO -- Information Resources Inc., a provider of consumer information to the consumer packaged goods industry, said last week it has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by a newly formed corporation owned by Symphony Technology Group, Palo Alto, Calif., an investor in enterprise software, and Tennenbaum Capital Partners, Los Angeles, a private investment firm. Symphony and Tennenbaum will begin a tender offer for all 29.8 million shares of IRI at $3.30 per share, IRI said. Shareholders who sell to the investors would also be entitled to collect from IRI's $350 million antitrust suit against ACNielsen, now a subsidiary of Netherlands-based VNU, which is scheduled to go to trial in September 2004, IRI said. After it lost its largest client, Procter & Gamble Co., Cincinnati, to ACNielsen in December, IRI hired Chicago investment firm Wm. Blair & Co. to explore strategic options.

SUNFLOWER PLANS TO GROW IN SOUTHWEST

BOULDER, Colo. -- Sunflower Markets here, a company owned by Mike Gilliland and Libby Cook, the married couple who founded Wild Oats Markets, also here, said last week it plans to open three stores this year and seven to nine a year thereafter throughout the Southwest. The company's first and so far only store, a 30,000-square-foot unit in Albuquerque, N.M., has had more than $10 million in sales since it opened last July, Bob Milsap, Sunflower's head of operations for Arizona, told SN. In 2003, Sunflower will open two stores in the Phoenix area, one in July and the other in late September, as well as one in Tucson later in the year, Milsap noted. He added that the company has chosen to focus on the Southwestern states of Arizona, Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico because of their "fast growth, good demographics, healthy lifestyles" and abundant supply of recyclable retail space.

WAL-MART BANS SEXUAL ORIENTATION DISCRIMINATION

BENTONVILLE, Ark. -- Wal-Mart here said last week it has adopted a new policy that bans discrimination against employees on the basis of sexual orientation. A company spokesman told SN, "We want all of our associates to feel valued and respected." The spokesman said Wal-Mart will add material on sexual orientation to its existing training modules on diversity and sexual harassment. He attributed the company's new policy largely to the input of employees.

ALBERTSONS CLOSES STORE AFTER SLAYINGS

IRVINE, Calif. -- Albertsons closed a store here late on Sunday, June 29, and all day the following Monday after an off-duty bagger entered the store wielding a sword at mid-morning on Sunday and killed two employees. He also wounded another employee and two customers before he was shot and killed by police officers. An Albertsons spokeswoman told SN that Larry Johnston, chairman and chief executive officer, met with the families of the two victims the day after the incident.