KING SOOPERS BATTLES COLO. UNION
DENVER — Claiming that union operatives have intimidated and coerced workers at its King Soopers stores, Kroger Co. has filed suit here seeking to end so-called “blitzing” practices. Kroger and United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7 have engaged in tense contract negotiations in recent months. Workers, who have been without a contract since the previous deal expired last month, last week voted to reject Kroger's latest contract offer. Kroger's suit seeks a restraining order preventing the union from entering its stores. It alleged that union workers wearing black shirts have arrived in groups at various stores since last month and “hindered and disrupted operations, threatened, intimidated and coerced employees, staff and the public and acted in ways that are not peaceful.”
C&S REOPENS TWO FOOD WORLDS
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Two Food World stores reopened last week, touting a new look and 6,000 lower everyday prices. The stores, located in Pelham, Ala., and Rainbow City, Ala., are the first Food World or Bruno's stores to introduce changes under the ownership of C&S Wholesale Grocers, the Keene, N.H.-based supplier that bought select Food World and Bruno's stores in a bankruptcy court auction last month. The sales flier for the Pelham store touts lower prices on 6,000 items tagged with a red circle. Shoppers no longer need to use a frequent shopper card to receive discounts, the store said. C&S is operating the stores under its Southern Family Markets division, based here.
CHAINS ASK TO KEEP DATA SEALED
WASHINGTON — Several supermarket chains that submitted detailed financial information in the Federal Trade Commission's suit to block the Whole Foods-Wild Oats merger have asked in another lawsuit against Whole Foods that the information remain protected, according to reports. In a class-action suit against Whole Foods Market, the plaintiff has asked the Austin, Texas-based company to turn over documents that contain information about other chains' expansion plans, profitability by department and competitive analyses that it obtained in the FTC case. That information was protected by a court order, and is eventually supposed to be returned to the companies who provided it. The chains that supplied the documents to Whole Foods include Kroger Co., Delhaize, Save Mart, H.E. Butt, Ahold, Gelson's, New Seasons and Harris Teeter.
STATER BROS. TOUTS NEW LOWER PRICES
SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. — Stater Bros. Markets here last week launched a new advertising campaign with the tag line, “Lowering prices every day … to help you save on what you pay.” The program involves lowering prices on 10,000 products “that families use on a daily basis,” the company said. The ad campaign will encompass TV, radio and the chain's weekly circulars.
SUPERVALU LAUNCHES LABEL PROGRAM
MINNEAPOLIS — Supervalu last week said that it will roll out Healthy Elements, a nutrition labeling program that it intends to market to independent retailers. Several Supervalu-supplied stores are piloting the system that uses green shelf tags to identify healthy attributes based on Food and Drug Administration guidelines. Tags list up to four traits to identify foods that are low-fat, low-cholesterol, low-calorie, low-sodium, organic, a good source of calcium, a good source of fiber, gluten-free or list whole grains as its first ingredient. A nationwide launch is planned for this summer.