News Watch

KROGER'S CONCEPT COMES TO DILLONS -- Kroger's expanded Marketplace concept made its debut at a renovated Dillons store here last week. The 110,000-square-foot Dillons Marketplace store, featuring expanded general merchandise offerings in addition to gourmet foods, is the first such store in the Dillons chain. Parent company Kroger Co., Cincinnati, operates Marketplace stores in several

KROGER'S ‘MARKETPLACE’ CONCEPT COMES TO DILLONS

WICHITA, Kan. — Kroger's expanded Marketplace concept made its debut at a renovated Dillons store here last week. The 110,000-square-foot Dillons Marketplace store, featuring expanded general merchandise offerings in addition to gourmet foods, is the first such store in the Dillons chain. Parent company Kroger Co., Cincinnati, operates Marketplace stores in several other markets. The renovation added 30,000 square feet to the existing store. Kroger is at work renovating a second area Dillons for a Marketplace, reports said.

ST. LOUIS WORKERS APPROVE NEW LABOR CONTRACT

ST. LOUIS — United Food & Commercial Workers Local 655 here last week approved a new three-year contract with Dierbergs, Schnucks and Shop n' Save stores in the region. The deal provides for wage increases of $1.20 over the life of the contract, including 45 cents retroactive to the prior contract's expiration of May 14, union officials said. The deal also provides improvements in the health and welfare plan to include doubling dental and vision benefits and making the prescription and vision benefits available to all eligible members; and changing eligibility requirements to provide health insurance to an additional 800 to 1,000 members. The new contract was approved by an 82% majority of nearly 10,000 workers at 98 stores.

JUDGE NIXES GIANT EAGLE'S BOTTLING-PLANT DEAL

PITTSBURGH — Although a federal bankruptcy court judge has revoked Giant Eagle's planned $20 million purchase of a LeNature's bottled-water plant in Latrobe, Pa., the retailer could still end up buying the facility. Giant Eagle had outbid Cadbury Schweppes for the site, but the judge awarded the plant to Cadbury for $19 million after ruling that Giant Eagle had intimidated the beverage concern, citing an Aug. 2 letter saying it would no longer buy 15 Cadbury brands, reports said. Giant Eagle, which was ordered to forfeit its $2 million deposit, had no comment. Reports last week speculated that Giant Eagle could still but the plant from Cadbury, which indicated it intended to sell the plant.

CHICAGO GRAND MART STORES TO SWITCH PITCH: REPORT

LANHAM, Md. — Grand Mart International Food, which less than a year ago acquired eight former Cub Foods stores to expand its ethnic food superstores to the Chicagoland area, is retooling its concept there after poor results, the Sun-Times newspaper reported. Three Grand Mart stores have closed temporarily, and plans are to change its name and merchandising focus in a few months, the report said. Grand Mart acquired the Cub stores last year from the private equity-led consortium in the Albertsons-Supervalu deal. The stores previously belonged to Supervalu but were spun off to settle antitrust concerns in that merger.

CARREFOUR PLANS TO SPIN OFF REAL ESTATE HOLDINGS

PARIS — Carrefour here said it plans to spin off its real estate holdings into a separately listed company. Around 60% of its real estate holdings, including stores, shopping centers and development sites located in France, Spain and Italy, would be spun into a separate company, Carrefour Property, in 2008.

WAKEFERN'S PRICERITE EXPANDING TO WESTERN N.Y.

ELIZABETH, N.J. — Wakefern Food Corp. here will make its first move to western New York state with the opening of a PriceRite discount store in Rochester in January. PriceRite will locate in a 43,000-square-foot former Wegmans store, a Wakefern spokeswoman told SN. PriceRite, which also operates stores in Schenectady, N.Y., and Glens Falls, N.Y., is looking at other opportunities for new stores in western New York, but has not reached any agreements yet, the spokeswoman said.