WINN-DIXIE SELLS TWO DAIRY PLANTS TO CO-OP
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Winn-Dixie Stores here said last week it has agreed to sell the two dairy facilities it operates to Southeast Milk, a Florida-based cooperative. Terms were not disclosed. Winn-Dixie said the plants, located in Plant City, Fla., and Hammond, La., will remain in full production, and that its employees will be retained by Southeast Milk. “We have concluded that the sale of our dairies is in the company's best interest as we continue to sharpen our focus on the retail operation of our business,” said Peter Lynch, Winn-Dixie's chairman, president and chief executive officer, in a prepared statement. Neither Winn-Dixie nor Southeast Milk could be reached for further comment. Winn-Dixie will continue to operate one manufacturing plant, a private-label Chek Cola facility in Fitzgerald, Ga.
GIANT-CARLISLE TO OPEN LARGEST STORE THIS WEEK
WILLOW GROVE, Pa. — Giant of Carlisle is scheduled to open a 97,300-square-foot superstore here this week — the largest in the chain and the first Super Giant in the greater Philadelphia region. Located at the site of a former Home Depot store, the store will employ 475 employees and will be open 24 hours. Amenities include a natural/organic store-within-a-store, a cooking school with a supervised children's play area, expanded selections of natural foods, and interactive shopping and convenience features, Giant, a division of Ahold based in Carlisle, Pa., said in a statement.
NORTHGATE GONZALEZ ACQUIRES HISPANIC CHAIN
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Northgate Gonzalez Markets here has acquired the five-store El Tigre chain, based in San Diego, for an estimated $10 million plus. Northgate is a privately held chain owned by a family that was operating 24 stores prior to the acquisition — with annual sales reportedly running around $300 million — encompassing 12 locations in Orange County, 11 in Los Angeles County and one in San Diego County. Three of the El Tigre stores are in the San Diego area, with two others in San Bernardino and Pacoima, Calif. Representatives of Northgate could not be reached for comment. Local reports indicated the company plans to retain El Tigre's 500 employees.
DOLLAR TREE REPORTS SALES, MARGINS BOOST IN 4Q
CHESAPEAKE, Va. — A focus on cost control and efficiency led to higher quarterly gross margins for Dollar Tree Stores, helping the discounter here improve profits despite a slow holiday sales season and reduced store traffic. Gross margins as a percentage of sales increased 10 basis points on the 13-week quarter ended Feb. 2 to 35.8%, officials said last week. Net profit of $94.7 million was down from the 14-week fourth quarter of 2007, but when adjusted for the extra week improved by 17%, officials said. Sales of $1.3 billion slipped slightly overall but improved 5% when adjusted for the extra week in fiscal 2007. For the fiscal year, sales improved 6.9% to $4.2 billion, and net earnings were up 4.2% to $210.3 million. Dollar Tree stock was up by more than 10% after the results were reported last week.
ALBERTA SAFEWAY EMPLOYEES RATIFY CONTRACT
CALGARY, Alberta — Employees at 82 Safeway stores across Alberta have voted to approve new contracts, the retailer said in a statement last week. The three-year deals were separately approved by three locals of the United Food and Commercial Workers union representing around 11,500 workers and take effect immediately. The deals provide for “substantial wage increases and benefit improvements,” according to Chuck Mulvenna, chief operating officer of Canada Safeway, a division of the Pleasanton, Calif.-based retailer.