FOOD CITY TO ACQUIRE 8 BI-LO LOCATIONS
ere last week said it intends to purchase eight Bi-Lo supermarkets in Tennessee and convert them to the Food City banner. A purchase price was not disclosed, and the transaction is expected to close in mid-March. The stores - four in Knoxville, two in Maryville and one each in Oak Ridge and Farragut - were among the stores sold by Bi-Lo to its supplier, C&S Wholesale Grocers, Keene, N.H., last year. C&S has switched the majority of those locations to the Southern Family Markets banner. K-VA-T said in a statement that it plans to convert the stores to the Food City banner "as quickly as possible with the least interruption to the normal flow of business," and that it would invest "several million dollars in capital improvements" to the Knoxville market, where it already operates 28 locations.
SEC CHARGES AUDITORS IN AHOLD SCANDAL
WASHINGTON - The Securities and Exchange Commission here has charged two auditors for failing to recognize or act upon "red flags" that may have prevented Ahold's 2003 accounting scandal. The auditors, Kevin Hall and Rosemary Meyer of KPMG, engaged in improper conduct while auditing Ahold's U.S. Foodservice division in fiscal year 1999 and parts of 2000, the SEC said, creating a flawed audit design that recognized income where it shouldn't have, and failing to expense penalties from a supply contract, among other charges. A hearing will be scheduled before an administrative law judge to determine whether the SEC charges are true. Previously, the SEC filed enforcement actions against vendors as well as officials of U.S. Foodservice and Ahold, related to the scandals.
C&S CONVERTS FORMER TOPS TO GU MARKETS
KEENE, N.H. - C&S Wholesale Grocers here last week completed the conversion of 12 Tops Friendly Markets stores it acquired last year to the GU Family Markets banner, reports said. C&S acquired the stores, located in the Adirondack region of New York, from Tops last summer. The converted stores had formerly been Grand Union stores that were sold to Tops. C&S acquired the Grand Union banner in 2001 and operates about 30 locations. Two of the newly converted stores are located in Saranac Lake; others are in Elizabethtown, Bolton Landing, Schroon Lake, Corinth, Warrensburg, Hamilton, Ausable Forks, Peru, North Creek and Chestertown.
PUBLIX TOPS CUSTOMER SATISFACTION SURVEY
ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Publix Super Markets, Lakeland, Fla., led all bricks-and-mortar retailers in the American Customer Satisfaction Index in 2005 with a score of 81, according to the University of Michigan here, which released the results of the annual study last week. The study measures consumers' satisfaction with the quality of goods and services they receive. The aggregate score for the supermarket industry was up one point to 74 on the ACSI's 100-point scale. Following Publix were Supervalu, 77; Kroger, 74; Winn-Dixie, 73; Albertsons and Safeway, 71 each; and Wal-Mart, 70. Drug stores were included in the survey for the first time and had an aggregate score of 76, led by Walgreen with a score of 76.
WAL-MART APPLAUDS DENIAL OF CLASS-ACTION
BENTONVILLE, Ark. - Wal-Mart Stores here applauded a decision by an appeals court in Wisconsin denying class-action status to a case brought against the retailer in 2001 by workers who said they were forced to work though breaks. In a statement, Wal-Mart noted that 17 courts have denied class-action status in wage-and-hour cases, and an appellate court has yet to rule in favor of class certification; and three appeals courts, including Wisconsin, have been affirmed upon appeal.