MEIJER, UNION REACH TENTATIVE CONTRACT PACT
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Meijer here has reached a tentative contract agreement with 27,000 organized employees in Michigan, the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 951 said. The new 4½-year deal includes three different contracts for retail, distribution and retail property management services, and provides immediate and future wage increases and continuation of a pension plan for current and future employees. The union's bargaining committee has recommended members approve the new deal, which would replace an extended contract that expired Sept. 8. Ballots will be counted Oct. 12, the union added.
VILLAGE SUPER MARKETS TOPS $1B IN SALES
SPRINGFIELD, N.J. — Village Super Markets surpassed $1 billion in sales for its fiscal year ending July 28, the retailer here said last week. Village, which operates 23 ShopRite stores, said sales grew by 2.6% to $269.3 million during the fourth quarter, boosted by sales improvements at a renovated store and by a closure of a competitor, offset by four competitive openings. Net income of $6.3 million in the quarter increased 26% compared with the same period a year ago, boosted by higher sales and higher gross profit percentages, along with lower expenses as a percentage of sales. Village said it would open a store in Galloway Township, N.J., this week. The store was a former Stop & Shop acquired earlier this year for $3.5 million. For the fiscal year, Village posted sales of $1.05 billion and profits of $20.5 million. Same-store sales for the year improved by 2.9%.
UNIFIED BUYS AG; RUNYAN TO BE ADVISOR
LOS ANGELES — Unified Grocers here — formerly known as Unified Western Grocers — said last week it has completed its acquisition of Associated Grocers, Seattle, for about $38.5 million. The “vast majority” of AG-Seattle's existing customers have reached new supply agreements with Unified, the company said, including Haggen Food & Pharmacy, a 33-store chain based in Bellingham, Wash. About 650 former AG-Seattle employees have been hired by Unified. The acquisition included the lease on AG's Seattle's warehouse. John Runyan, former president and chief executive officer, AG, will now become an executive advisor to Al Plamann, president and CEO, Unified.
ORGANIC WHOLESALER EXPANDS TO INDIANA
NEW YORK — Really Cool Foods, an organic wholesaler based here, said last week it would invest $100 million over the next five to seven years to build a warehouse for organic prepared foods in Cambridge City, Ind. Bob Clamp, chief executive officer of Really Cool Foods, in a statement said the new facility would complement its distribution capability and help service clients nationwide. Really Cool Foods, which operates a supply kitchen in Syossett, N.Y., and a single store here, distributes its products to chains including Kroger, Whole Foods, Stop & Shop, ShopRite and Giant, and will begin serving Trader Joe's this month.
FAMILY DOLLAR TO INCREASE FOOD SPACE
MATTHEWS, N.C. — Family Dollar Stores here plans to increase space devoted to food in 2,800 stores during fiscal 2008, its officials said in a conference call last week. The discount chain also said it would equip around 1,500 stores with checkouts that facilitate acceptance of food stamps, as the company prepares for what it termed “a difficult macro-environment with limited near-term visibility” for the fiscal year that began Sept. 2. “Volatile gasoline prices that burdened our customers in 2007 will most likely continue in 2008. And the inflationary pressures we have seen in key consumables like food show no sign of abating,” Howard Levine, chairman and chief executive officer, said in conference call. Family Dollar said sales for the fiscal year increased 6.9% to $6.8 billion, with comps up 0.9%.