Newswatch

A&P CLOSING 5 SUPERFRESH STORES MONTVALE, N.J. A&P here will close at least five stores operating under the SuperFresh banner this month, sources told SN. Union sources confirmed the company would close stores in North Coventry, Pa., Lansdale, Pa., and Doylestown, Pa., no later than Feb. 25. The North Coventry and Lansdale stores are former Clemens Markets sites acquired by A&P in 2006. SuperFresh

A&P CLOSING 5 SUPERFRESH STORES

MONTVALE, N.J. — A&P here will close at least five stores operating under the SuperFresh banner this month, sources told SN. Union sources confirmed the company would close stores in North Coventry, Pa., Lansdale, Pa., and Doylestown, Pa., no later than Feb. 25. The North Coventry and Lansdale stores are former Clemens Markets sites acquired by A&P in 2006. SuperFresh stores in Bowie, Md., and Bel Air, Md., are also set to close this month, with Bowie scheduled to have closed Feb. 7 and Bel Air scheduled to close no later than Feb. 23. A&P officials were not immediately available for comment.

WEIS Q4 SALES, EARNINGS INCREASE

SUNBURY, Pa. — Targeted sales promotions, along with improvements in operating efficiency, drove a 97.6% increase in fourth-quarter net income for Weis Markets, the retailer said last week, although earnings for the full year were down. For the 13-week fourth quarter, which ended Dec. 27, Weis reported net income of $17 million on sales of $619.4 million. Sales improved 4.5%, and comparable-store sales improved by 2.2%. Net income for the fiscal year decreased 7.8%, to $47 million, on sales of $2.4 billion, a 4.5% increase. “We continue to operate in a tough economic environment, which is clearly impacting our customers' purchasing decisions,” David Hepfinger, president and chief executive officer, said in a statement. “However, we believe our continuing operational improvements along with our aggressive merchandising and marketing programs will help us to make substantial progress with our sales and profits in 2009.”

WAKEFERN DISPUTES UNION CHARGES

KEASBEY, N.J. — A Wakefern Food Corp. spokeswoman told SN last week that the retailer demoted a Rhode Island PriceRite worker for violating company policy, and not for speaking at a pro-labor rally, as a local union alleged. United Food and Commercial Workers Local 328, Providence, R.I., last week said it had filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board alleging that Wakefern demoted and cut pay for Joe Sorrentino, a night crew chief at a PriceRite store who had recently spoken at a labor rally in Washington. Karen Meleta of Wakefern declined to elaborate on the nature of the violation, but said the action was unrelated to union activity.

ALDI SELECTS NEW AD AGENCY

BATAVIA, Ill. — Aldi has selected McCann Erickson as its new advertising agency, the retailer here said last week. McCann Erickson, based in Birmingham, Mich., said it will have responsibility for all integrated marketing communications and advertising services. “Aldi has a terrific story to tell. We are looking forward to helping them tell it, both from a strategic branding point of view and tactically in ways that drive in-store sales,” Garry Neel, chief executive officer of McCann's Birmingham office, said in a statement.

STAMFORD OKS FAIRWAY PROJECT

STAMFORD, Conn. — New York-based specialty grocer Fairway Market has received a go-ahead from city officials here to build its first store in Connecticut. A 55,000-square-foot Fairway will take over a former manufacturing site as part of an 80-acre development to be known as Harbor Point, said the developer, Building and Land Technology here. The project, to open next year, is also planned to include housing, hotel and office properties. Fairway operates four locations in New York and is expected to open its first store in New Jersey this year.