PERISHABLES, PROMOTIONS BOOST WEIS' 2Q SALES
SUNBURY, Pa. — Perishable department sales growth and aggressive promotions helped grow sales by 3% during the fiscal second quarter that ended June 30 for Weis Markets, the retailer said. Sales of $578.8 million increased by 3%, and comparable-store sales grew by 3.2%, Weis said. Earnings of $18.2 million increased by 17.2% from the same period a year ago, boosted by the sale of two properties generating $5.3 million, and by keeping costs stable, Weis said. Year-to-date, sales have increased 3.7% to $1.2 billion. Net income is up by 3.7% to $31.6 million.
BLOOM OFFERS REWARD FOR MISSING MUFFIN
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The disappearance of a gigantic blueberry muffin used in an outdoor advertising campaign for Bloom supermarkets is not another advertising stunt, an official of Bloom's advertising agency here told SN last week. The plastic muffin, measuring 4 feet by 6 feet and weighing nearly 200 pounds, was stolen from a parking lot of a Bloom supermarket in Greer, S.C., said Amy Noon, account executive for Boone/Oakley, Bloom's advertising agency, which created a “wanted poster” distributed in the store. The muffin prop was part of an award-winning billboard showing a pan of muffins, out of which one muffin had “fallen” onto a crushed car beneath the billboard. Bloom said it was offering $300 in groceries and would make a $300 charitable donation for information leading to the muffin's return.
BOND SERVICE DOWNGRADES SOBEYS, EMPIRE
STELLARTON, Nova Scotia — Citing increased financial leverage and weakened profitability, Dominion Bond Rating Service slashed its rating of Sobeys and its parent company Empire Co. here. The agency downgraded Sobeys long-term debt two notches from BBB (high) to BBB (low). Empire's rating fell to BB (high) from BBB, the agency said. “The negative trend reflects the challenges involved with reversing the declining profitability and cash flow at Sobeys,” DBRS said in a statement. “DBRS is also concerned with the high level of budgeted cap-ex and/or additional acquisitions that could result in further increases to debt for the consolidated group.”
PUBLIX EMPLOYEES ARRESTED IN CREDIT UNION SCHEME
LAKELAND, Fla. — Florida police last week charged seven people, including four employees of the Publix Super Markets chain here, with allegedly stealing $140,000 from the retailer's employee credit union. According to a police report, Lotonyo Lyons of Cape Coral, a Publix employee, instigated the scheme to deposit fraudulent checks into Publix Federal Credit Union accounts and then use debit cards to take out cash or make purchases. Publix, whose credit union is open to employees and their families, at the time allowed its employees immediate access to deposited funds. Police said the suspects — six of whom have been arrested — were targets of an eight-month investigation aided by Publix.
BI-LO NAMES ERWIN-PENLAND AGENCY OF RECORD
GREENVILLE, S.C. — Erwin-Penland, the ad agency that helped develop brand identity for the new Super Bi-Lo store concept, has been named agency of record for Bi-Lo Holdings here, the retailer said last week. Erwin-Penland, also based in Greenville, created a new logo, tagline and a variety of communication elements for Super Bi-Lo, an expanded food format recently rolled out by the retailer.
LANCASTER FOODS BUYS FORMER GIANT DEPOT
JESSUP, Md. — Wholesale produce and floral distributor Lancaster Foods has purchased a warehouse here formerly belonging to Ahold's Giant-Landover division, the distributor said. A purchase price was not disclosed. Giant closed its Jessup facilities in 2005 as part of its integration with Stop & Shop.