Newswatch

INVESTOR GROUP BUYS 6 BALDUCCI'S BETHESDA, Md. An investor group led by James A. Demme has acquired six stores and related operations from Balducci's here. Demme, who serves as a senior advisor to Angelo, Gordon & Co., the New York-based investor group, is chairman of Kings Super Markets, Parsippany, N.J., and served earlier as chairman of Penn Traffic, Bruno's and Homeland Supermarkets and also as

INVESTOR GROUP BUYS 6 BALDUCCI'S

BETHESDA, Md. — An investor group led by James A. Demme has acquired six stores and related operations from Balducci's here. Demme, who serves as a senior advisor to Angelo, Gordon & Co., the New York-based investor group, is chairman of Kings Super Markets, Parsippany, N.J., and served earlier as chairman of Penn Traffic, Bruno's and Homeland Supermarkets and also as president of Shaw's Supermarkets. The deal includes Balducci's store here and in Alexandria and McLean, Va.; Scarsdsale, N.Y.; and Westport and Greenwich, Conn., as well as Balducci's licensing, catering and gift-basket operations. Balducci's previously announced that four other stores — two in Manhattan and one each in Ridgefield, Conn., and Washington, D.C., will be shuttered. None of those is part of the deal with Angelo, Gordon & Co.

WEIS EXTENDS 90-DAY PRICE FREEZE

SUNBURY, Penn. — Weis Markets last week implemented a 90-day price freeze on 3,000 staple items. Eligible private labels and national brands in Center Store, frozen, dairy, produce, meat and bakery departments are identified with shelf tags. Earlier this year the chain lowered and froze the price on 2,400 items for 90 days. Six hundred additional products have been added to the second phase of the Price Freeze program. It runs through July 15.

BJ'S BEGINS ACCEPTING FOOD STAMPS

NATICK, Mass. — BJ's Wholesale Club said it has begun accepting Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) payments at all 180 locations. “The Food Stamp program makes a difference in the lives of millions of Americans across the country, and the benefits they receive positively impact their abilities to feed their families consistently healthy meals,” said Laura Sen, president and chief executive officer of BJ's, in a statement last week.

SOBEYS TO CHARGE FOR BAGS IN ONTARIO

STELLARTON, Nova Scotia — Sobeys, Foodland and IGA stores in Ontario will begin charging 5 cents per plastic shopping bag in an initiative to reduce waste and encourage recycling, the company, based here, said last week. In a statement, Sobeys said the initiative would help accelerate a previous pledge to reduce the amount of bags used in its stores by half by 2012. Stores that charge users for bags use around 55% fewer bags than those that offer complimentary bags, Sobeys added.

SEDANO'S SETS EMPLOYEE ‘STIMULUS’

MIAMI — Sedano's Supermarkets last week said it would provide all hourly employees with a monthly $30 gift card through December as a part of a “stimulus plan” to help its employees. The donations will provide more than 2,600 workers with about $500,000 in value, the Hispanic-focused retailer said. Gift cards can be used to purchase any items at Sedano's 30 stores.

CONTRACT TALKS BEGIN IN COLORADO

COLORADO SPRINGS — Negotiations between United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7 here and its three major supermarket employers got under way this month on a new contract to succeed one that is scheduled to expire May 9. According to the union, Safeway proposed cutting pension benefits during the first day of talks. More than 10,000 workers in Colorado are covered by the agreements. Negotiations with Kroger's King Soopers chain were scheduled for last Friday, and talks with Albertsons are scheduled to begin this week.