News Watch

CUSTOMERS FILE LAWSUITS IN HANNAFORD CASE At least two class-action lawsuits were filed last week on behalf of customers of Hannaford Bros. and its sister chain, Sweetbay, whose credit card numbers were put at risk after a security breach. (See story, Page 1.) Philadelphia-based Berger & Montague said it filed suit in U.S. District Court in Portland, Maine, alleging that the

CUSTOMERS FILE LAWSUITS IN HANNAFORD CASE

SCARBOROUGH, Maine — At least two class-action lawsuits were filed last week on behalf of customers of Hannaford Bros. here and its sister chain, Sweetbay, whose credit card numbers were put at risk after a security breach. (See story, Page 1.) Philadelphia-based Berger & Montague said it filed suit in U.S. District Court in Portland, Maine, alleging that the chains, owned by Brussels-based Delhaize Group, did not provide adequate security. A similar lawsuit was filed by Bangor, Maine-based law firm Lanham Blackwell listing as plaintiffs Melinda J. Ryan of Bangor and “others similarly situated.” That suit also alleges that “Hannaford did not maintain reasonable procedures designed to limit access to this sensitive financial information.” The suits seek unspecified damages. Hannaford declined to comment on the suits.

CENTRAL GROCERS CO-OP PLANNING RELOCATION

FRANKLIN PARK, Ill. — Central Grocers, a cooperative wholesaler based here, is looking to move to a larger site by next year, its chief executive officer told SN last week. Jim Denges said that the member-owned co-op, which supplies about 225 independent supermarkets in the Chicago area, is considering the purchase of a 900,000-square-foot facility in Joliet, Ill., to serve as its new headquarters and distribution center. It is also looking at a potential site in Portage, Ind. Denges said the cooperative has outgrown its current facilities, which total 750,000 square feet.

FRESH & EASY TO ACCEPT AMERICAN EXPRESS

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market here, the U.S.-based operation of U.K.-based Tesco, said last week it will accept American Express cards at all 59 stores in response to customers' requests. Since it began opening U.S. stores in early November, the chain has not accepted any credit cards. According to Simon Uwins, the chain's chief merchandising officer, “Our customers asked us to accept the American Express card in our stores, and we listened.”

VILLAGE TO PAY $16M IN SPECIAL DIVIDENDS

SPRINGFIELD, N.J. — Village Super Market here said that its board has authorized special dividends of $3 per share for Class A shares and $1.95 per share for Class B shares, to be paid April 24 to shareholders of record as of April 4. The 25-unit ShopRite operator said the dividends, totaling $16 million, will be paid from cash on hand. The dividends are being issued “in recognition of our operating performance and strong financial position,” said James Sumas, chairman and chief executive officer of Village.

WAL-MART OPENS LARGEST STORE IN UPSTATE N.Y.

ALBANY, N.Y. — Wal-Mart Stores last week opened its largest U.S. supercenter here by combining it with a closed Sam's Club location, according to reports. The 260,000-square-foot store is on two levels; Sam's Club had been on the ground floor, and the Wal-Mart store had occupied only the second level. The Sam's Club closed in 2006, the reports said.

GIANT EAGLE REVIEWING ADVERTISING AGENCIES

PITTSBURGH — Giant Eagle here has launched a review seeking a new ad agency, the company said last week. The Richards Group, Dallas, is the chain's current agency for creative services. The review does not include Giant Eagle's media-buying agency, RJW Media, based here. Reports said Giant Eagle has hired Ark Advisors, New York, to conduct the search to find a successor to The Richards Group.