News Watch

PENN TRAFFIC TO CLOSE 5 STORES, INKS C&S DEAL SYRACUSE, N.Y. Penn Traffic Co. here said it will close five underperforming stores as part of an effort to improve its long-term financial performance and allow itself to reinvest in its core store portfolio. The stores, which are slated to close late this week, are located in Altoona, Somerset and Erie, Pa., and Horseheads and Plattsburgh, N.Y. Separately,

PENN TRAFFIC TO CLOSE 5 STORES, INKS C&S DEAL

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Penn Traffic Co. here said it will close five underperforming stores as part of an effort to improve its long-term financial performance and allow itself to reinvest in its core store portfolio. The stores, which are slated to close late this week, are located in Altoona, Somerset and Erie, Pa., and Horseheads and Plattsburgh, N.Y. Separately, Penn Traffic last week said it had struck an agreement with C&S Wholesale Grocers under which the Keene, N.H.-based wholesaler will procure and deliver produce to Penn Traffic warehouses effective March 1. Penn Traffic said it “will continue to operate all of its existing warehouse and transportation functions, including the internal management of outbound product delivery to its retail stores and wholesale customers.” Following the closings the company will operate 98 stores and supply 21.

C&S CLOSING A&P'S LONG ISLAND WAREHOUSE

CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. — C&S Wholesale Grocers is planning to close a warehouse here that had supplied A&P stores in New York, according to the president of the Teamsters local that represents the workers there. Teamsters Local 707 had been negotiating a new contract with C&S, which had recently taken over the warehouse from A&P, when C&S notified the union of intent to close the 750,000-square-foot facility, Kevin McCaffrey, president of Local 707, told SN. The stores will instead be supplied from warehouses in Windsor Locks, Conn., and Bethlehem, Pa., he said. About 200 warehouse workers are affected, he said, plus 20 support personnel and 50-60 drivers.

LAWRENCE BROTHERS MARKETS SIGNS WITH IGA

SWEETWATER, Texas — Lawrence Brothers Supermarkets, a family-owned chain with 18 stores in Texas and two in New Mexico, has re-signed as an IGA licensee, IGA said last week. Lawrence Brothers first joined IGA in 1986 and remained an IGA retailer for nearly 17 years. It was able to rejoin following the acquisition last year of a Fort Worth, Texas, warehouse by Associated Wholesale Grocers. “IGA and Lawrence Brothers share a common philosophy about the importance of community involvement, customer service and family business,” Jay Lawrence, president of Lawrence Brothers, said in a statement.

OVERWAITEA, SAFEWAY CANADA PLAN LABOR TALKS

LANGLEY, British Columbia — Overwaitea Food Group here is preparing to enter negotiations this week with the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1518 in Vancouver for a new contract covering about 19,000 workers, after which the union will hold talks with Safeway Canada. According to the UFCW, Overwaitea is seeking shorter shifts for workers and is asking employees to contribute toward paying for their benefits. The union also said Overwaitea, which operates 112 stores in Western Canada, is seeking to include language that would allow it to convert some stores to the bargain PriceSmart format, which calls for a reduction in pay scales.

PIGGLY WIGGLY CAROLINA EYES NEW PROTOTYPE

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — Piggly Wiggly Carolina is planning a new prototype store here that will revamp the traditional supermarket layout, and will instead group like products from different departments near one another — frozen vegetables, canned vegetables and fresh vegetables in the same area, for example — among other changes. The 43,000-square-foot location, a little larger than typical Piggly Wiggly stores in the state, is being designed by Marco Retail, Northville, Mich., and is scheduled to open in early April. The store will also include a make-and-take Dream Dinners franchise.