LOBLAW TO RAISE $340M IN DEBT SALE
BRAMPTON, Ontario — Loblaw Cos. last week said it would issue around $340 million (U.S.) in medium-term notes. The notes pay a fixed rate of 5.22% until maturity in June 2020. Proceeds of the sale would go toward pre-funding $350 million of indebtedness maturing in January 2011, the company said.
N.Y. UNION WARNS OF POTENTIAL STRIKE
NEW YORK — The union representing 16,000 workers at supermarkets in the New York Metro area last week began a campaign to notify local officials and consumers of a potential strike as its contract with employers approaches a June 26 expiration date. United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1500 in a statement said a job action ahead of the July 4th weekend could affect thousands of shoppers at 150 Stop & Shop, King Kullen, A&P and Pathmark stores covered by the contract. Local 1500 has launched nysupermarkets.com , which encourages shoppers to tell managers at their local stores that they support workers.
GE CAPITAL FUNDS LOAN FOR BI-LO
NORWALK, Conn. — GE Capital last week said that it had agented a $150 million credit facility for Bi-Lo. The loan, previously disclosed as part of Bi-Lo's plan of reorganization, will provide working capital and support as the retailer exits from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
KROGER, MICHIGAN WORKERS AGREE
MADISON HEIGHTS, Mich. — Union workers at Kroger stores in Michigan last week reached a tentative agreement with the Cincinnati-based retailer on a new contract. The workers, represented by United Food and Commercial Workers Local 876 here, in a statement said the tentative agreement “addresses our members' needs while allowing the company to remain viable.” The pact covers 12,000 workers at 118 Kroger stores in Michigan.
SHOPPERS TO SPEND LESS: SURVEY
CHARLESTON, S.C. — Just when it seemed consumers were opening up their wallets again, they will cut back spending this summer, according to results of a new survey by America's Research Group here. “Discretionary consumer spending will be in steep fall this summer as a majority of Americans re-think everything from back-to-school spending to vacation plans,” Britt Beamer, chief executive of America's Research Group, said in a statement last week. The survey revealed the European credit crisis had affected optimism in the U.S., with more than half of U.S. stock market investors expecting to cut back spending during the summer months. The results were based on 1,000 telephone interviews in May.
SKU CUTS DETER SHOPPERS: STUDY
LAS VEGAS — More than half of U.S. consumers say they are likely to shop elsewhere if they notice that a store is reducing selection, according to a Nielsen Co. study unveiled at the Consumer 360 Conference last week. The survey underscores risks to companies that reduce selections as part of the trend toward assortment rationalization, Nielsen noted. “[T]he message to retailers is to choose carefully when it comes to deciding which products to trim,” Stuart Taylor, vice president of custom analytics for Nielsen, said in a statement. “In many cases, strategically reducing assortment can result in an improved customer experience and greater profitability. Cut the wrong product, however, and the potential customer backlash could be costly.”