NEWSWATCH

BASHAS' CUTS ADMINISTRATIVE STAFF CHANDLER, Ariz. Bashas' here said it is reducing its administrative workforce by just over 100 people because of such uncontrollable factors as the downturn in the economy and the rising costs of food, energy, fuel and health care. Some administrative job functions have been consolidated, while other positions less critical to supporting day-to-day operations have

BASHAS' CUTS ADMINISTRATIVE STAFF

CHANDLER, Ariz. — Bashas' here said it is reducing its administrative workforce by just over 100 people because of such “uncontrollable factors” as the downturn in the economy and the rising costs of food, energy, fuel and health care. Some administrative job functions have been consolidated, while other positions less critical to supporting day-to-day operations have been eliminated, the company said. “We're streamlining our operations and rightsizing our company due to this economic downturn,” Mike Proulx, president and chief operating officer of the 163-store chain, said. “The goal is to impact our stores as little as possible.” The company said affected individuals have been offered a severance package and have been put on a preferential hiring list for other positions as they become available.

EARNINGS UP, STOCK DOWN AT PUBLIX

LAKELAND, Fla. — Publix Super Markets here last week said its stock price decreased by $1.25 from the fourth quarter, although sales and earnings improved. Publix's stock, owned by its directors and employees and not publicly traded, has its price set by appraisers based on market conditions and other factors. It decreased from $20.70 per share to $19.45. For the first quarter, net income of $343.2 million increased by 8.1% compared with the first quarter of 2007, while sales improved 6% to $5.9 billion. Comparable-store sales increased 3.6%, Publix said.

ALBERTSONS LLC TRIMS FUEL CENTERS

BOISE, Idaho — Albertsons LLC here said last week it is selling 72 fuel centers and closing four others in the Southwest as part of a strategic decision to focus its expertise on its core grocery and pharmacy businesses. Once those centers have been sold or closed, the company will continue to operate 15 fuel centers, all in Florida, a company spokeswoman told SN. The company said it has reached a definitive agreement to sell its fuel centers in Arizona, Colorado, Louisiana, New Mexico, Texas and Utah to Valero Retail Holdings, San Antonio, which will operate them under its Corner Store banner. The transaction is expected to close in August. Terms were not disclosed.

COMPETITION SLOWS SALES AT GELSON'S

LOS ANGELES — Increased competition and a slowing economy led to decreased quarterly sales at Arden Group, parent of the Gelson's Markets chain, Arden said last week. Net income of $6.53 million for the first quarter, which ended March 29, increased slightly from $6.47 million posted in the same period last year, mainly due to savings from a new labor contract, Arden said. Sales of $118.8 million decreased by 1.3% from the same period a year ago, while same-store sales also fell by 1.3%. Arden operates 18 Gelson's locations in Southern California.

WEGMANS CONSIDERING BOSTON SITE

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Wegmans Food Markets is considering building a new store in suburban Boston that would be the chain's first Massachusetts location, developers said. The retailer is considering building a store to anchor Westwood Station, a $2 billion mixed-use project in Westwood, Mass., but is reportedly awaiting resolution of a liquor permit before committing. A Wegmans spokeswoman confirmed the chain was interested in the site, and added that the chain will likely look for additional New England outposts. Westwood Station will replace an industrial park currently at the location with retail, housing and offices, according to Cabot, Cabot & Forbes, Boston, one of three developers on the project.