Newswatch

Bloom is promoting its new line of private-label beef with a billboard that produces a scent of grilled steak. Bloom, a Food Lion brand known for its creative advertising approach, erected the billboard in Mooresville, N.C. Designed to look like a giant fork spearing a piece of meat, the billboard uses an attached fan to disperse a charcoal and pepper

BLOOM'S NEW BILLBOARD MAKES SCENTS

SALISBURY, N.C. — Bloom is promoting its new line of private-label beef with a billboard that produces a scent of grilled steak. Bloom, a Food Lion brand known for its creative advertising approach, erected the billboard in Mooresville, N.C. Designed to look like a giant fork spearing a piece of meat, the billboard uses an attached fan to disperse a charcoal and pepper fragrance from scented oil. Bloom partnered with Charlotte-based advertising agency Birdsong Gregory, and used scent marketing from ScentAir Technologies, also in Charlotte, to create the billboard. It is scheduled to pump out scented air from 7 to 10 a.m. and from 4 to 7 p.m. through June 18. The billboard promotes the launch of Bloom's Sheffield & Sons USDA Choice Angus brand of beef.

U.S. BANK, KROGER IN CREDIT ALLIANCE

CINCINNATI — Kroger last week said it would expand a strategic alliance with U.S. Bancorp, the Minneapolis banking firm that purchased Kroger's credit card portfolio from RBS Citizens. U.S. Bancorp, operator of U.S. Bank, said it would offer additional financial services to Kroger customers, including new payment systems. U.S. Bank currently operates 192 in-store banks at Kroger stores. Kroger, through its Kroger Personal Finance subsidiary, offers credit cards, gift cards and prepaid cards and other services through partnerships from preferred providers.

COURT OKS SALE OF PLANET ORGANIC

EDMONTON, Alberta — An Ontario court last week approved the sale of natural/organic food chain Planet Organic to its largest creditor, Catalyst Capital Group. Planet Organic received no cash in the deal but had owed more than $32 million to Catalyst as a result of its convertible notes. Catalyst acquired all assets of the nine Planet Organic stores in Canada and all the shares of the subsidiary operating 11 Mrs. Green's Natural Markets in the U.S. In conjunction with the transfer, board members Brent Knudson and Ian Newton resigned, and Darren Krissie was expected to resign shortly.

WHOLE FOODS EYES SCOTLAND: REPORT

AUSTIN, Texas — Whole Foods Market is reportedly eyeing a site to expand into Scotland. According to the U.K. newspaper Herald Scotland last week, the retailer was in “advanced negotiations” to take over a former Safeway store near Glasgow, which would be Whole Foods' first in Scotland. It expanded into London in 2004. A Whole Foods spokesman was not immediately available for comment.

WEIS LAUNCHES NEW AD CAMPAIGN

SUNBURY, Pa. — Weis Markets last week launched a new ad campaign highlighting its local focus and emphasis on value, service and quality. Four new “Unmistakably Weis” TV commercials feature real-life Weis customers and suppliers and the company's chairman, Robert F. Weis. The ads are now running in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Harrisburg/Lancaster/York, Allentown, Pa.; Binghamton, N.Y.; and Frederick/Hagerstown, Md.

FRESHDIRECT ADDS LOCAL SELECTIONS

NEW YORK — FreshDirect last week said it doubled its local fresh offerings, and will offer 350 products from 30 suppliers sourced within 300 miles of the Internet grocery here. FreshDirect said making local product available — including fruit, vegetables, dairy, cheese, beef, seafood, bakery items and specialty products like beer and wine — allow some items to go from the farm to the customer within 48 hours.