Newswatch

Price Chopper Supermarkets, Schenectady, N.Y., is offering $54 million in cash to acquire 22 of Penn Traffic's locations, according to a filing in bankruptcy court last week. Penn Traffic, based here, said it was seeking court approval to conduct the transaction as a private sale rather than subject the stores to an auction. Conducting the transaction

PRICE CHOPPER BIDS $54M FOR 22 P&CS

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Price Chopper Supermarkets, Schenectady, N.Y., is offering $54 million in cash to acquire 22 of Penn Traffic's locations, according to a filing in bankruptcy court last week. Penn Traffic, based here, said it was seeking court approval to conduct the transaction as a private sale rather than subject the stores to an auction. Conducting the transaction as a private sale is a condition of Price Chopper's offer, according to the filing. Price Chopper previously had discussed buying four locations for $12.3 million, but this new agreement would replace that previous offer. The stores Price Chopper is seeking are located in: Massena, Potsdam, Canton, Gouverneur, Pulaski, Baldwinsville, Camillus, Fayetteville, Syracuse (two stores), Camden, Canastota, Cazenovia, Chittenango, Manlius, Skaneateles, Penn Yan, West Carthage and Sherrill, all in New York, plus one store each in Lincoln, N.H.; Bradford, Vt.; and Towanda, Pa. Local reports said Tops Friendly Markets, Williamsville, N.Y., also was preparing to make an offer for a large portion of Penn Traffic's 79 locations. A Tops spokeswoman told SN: “Tops is following the Penn Traffic transaction closely, but cannot speculate on any outcome.”

BIG Y SEEKS VOLUNTARY CUTS: REPORT

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — Big Y Supermarkets has launched what it called a voluntary layoff program for full-time store employees in Massachusetts and Connecticut, reports said. The retailer, based here, in a release sent to local media did not indicate how many voluntary departures it was seeking but said the program was aimed at ensuring the company's long-term financial health. It said that employees who agreed to be laid off would be eligible for rehiring if the economy and sales improve. Big Y in January made an unspecified number of employee layoffs as a result of a new store program to reduce labor costs. A spokesman for the chain was not available for comment.

COBORN'S TO CONVERT 2 CUB STORES

ST. CLOUD, Minn. — Coborn's said last week that it has reached an agreement to buy two independently owned Cub Foods stores here and would convert them to its Cash Wise banner early next year. Both Cub stores were owned by Glenn Benidt of Oconomowoc, Wis. A purchase price was not disclosed. Coborn's said it would retain all 360 employees at both locations.

GUILTY PLEA IN HANNAFORD BREACH

NEWARK, N.J. — A suspect in the data theft case affecting the Hannaford Bros. supermarket chain has entered a plea agreement in U.S. District Court here. Albert Gonzalez pleaded guilty to hacking into the computers of Heartland Payment Systems, Hannaford, 7-Eleven and two other unnamed national retailers. The judge has officially transferred the case to Massachusetts, where Gonzalez is facing two similar charges. Gonzalez is accused of having broken into computer networks at Hannaford and other retailers in 2007 and 2008, stealing millions of credit card records.

SAFEWAY AUTHORIZES $1B STOCK BUY

PLEASANTON, Calif. — The board of directors of Safeway here said it has authorized the company to repurchase another $1 billion worth of its stock. The authorization increased Safeway's current repurchase plan to $6 billion. The retailer had about $720 million left under its current repurchase authorization. The timing and volume of the purchase will depend on market conditions, the company said.