NRF SEEKS SALES-TAX HOLIDAYS
WASHINGTON — The National Retail Federation here has asked President-elect Obama for a two-pronged economic stimulus program to encourage consumer spending. The association's short-term proposal calls for three, 10-day “national sales tax holidays” — one each in March, July and October — that would cover a broad range of goods. The NRF suggested that the federal government reimburse states for lost tax revenues during those periods. The NRF also suggested a long-term stimulus in the form of “significant” investment in infrastructure. In addition to helping create jobs, the investment in infrastructure “will have the additional benefit of helping to repair our decaying roads, rails and ports that are critical to the conduct of commerce in the United States,” the NRF said in the letter.
JUDGE QUERIES FTC ON WHOLE FOODS
WASHINGTON — The judge who is re-hearing the Whole Foods antirust case after allowing the merger to proceed in 2007 has asked the Federal Trade Commission how it might be possible to halt the ongoing integration of Whole Foods and Wild Oats, according to reports. A three-judge panel sent the case back to U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman after the FTC appealed his first decision denying an injunction against the merger, which was completed in August 2007. Whole Foods has already closed 19 acquired locations and is converting the rest to the Whole Foods banner.
SHOPRITE OPENS IN WILMINGTON
WILMINGTON, Del. — A 70,000-square-foot ShopRite supermarket opened last week in the Christina Riverfront district here, marking the area's first major food retailer, Kenney Family ShopRites, operator of the new store, said. The store, designed specifically for the area, has rooftop parking, customer elevators and a cartveyor system, and features the largest meat department in the state of Delaware, Kenney said. Kenney Family ShopRites is a member of the Wakefern Food Corp. cooperative.
UKROP'S CLOSING WILLIAMSBURG STORE
RICHMOND, Va. — Ukrop's Super Markets said last week it will close one of its two stores in Williamsburg, Va., by the end of the month. The store, which opened in October 2006 on Mooretown Road, was affected by slower growth than anticipated in the area due in part to the housing slowdown, Bobby Ukrop, president and chief executive officer, said in a letter to area residents sent out last week. The store's 100 employees will be offered other jobs in the company.
WAL-MART SAID TO EYE RUSSIAN MARKET
BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Wal-Mart Stores here has joined the Russian retail association and is eying acquisition opportunities in the country, according to reports last week. In addition, Reuters said Wal-Mart was said to be in talks with Russian chains that were experiencing financial pressures in the down economy. Wal-Mart previously had disclosed an interest in operating in Russia, but the latest reports indicate it may be closer than ever, thanks in part to the global credit crisis that could make it an attractive partner for struggling Russian operators. Wal-Mart declined to comment on the reports. Last April, the company said it had hired Stephan Fanderl as president of Wal-Mart Emerging Markets-East to explore opportunities in Russia and other nearby countries.