S&P UPGRADES KROGER RATING TO BBB
NEW YORK — Standard & Poor's here last week said it has raised its corporate credit rating on Kroger by one notch, from BBB- to BBB. The change reflects Kroger's commitment to reduce debt obligations as well as S&P's belief that the retailer will fare better than its peers in the tough economy, the agency said in a release. S&P lowered Kroger's credit rating to BBB- in 2005 when its debt ratio was about 3.5 times earnings. The company today stands at 3.0 times earnings — or 3.3 including multiemployer pension benefits, S&P said. Safeway, which was also lowered to BBB- by S&P in 2005, remains at the same level.
FOOD LION COMPLETES SC REMODELS
SALISBURY, N.C. — Food Lion here last week said it has remodeled 31 stores in Columbia, S.C., and Florence, S.C., as part of Food Lion's ongoing “Take A Fresh Look” market-renewal efforts. “This is an exciting time for Food Lion and our customers, as we celebrate a fresh, new look, a greater selection of products and a renewed focus on service,” said Bobby Tatum, director of operations for the markets, in a prepared release. He said the stores add a “more inviting” interior design and expanded offerings in produce, meats and deli/bakery, wine and beer, and organics. The new signage, decor and enhanced lighting are designed to give the stores a “neighborhood marketplace” ambience, the chain said.
DUANE READE LAUNCHES FOOD BRAND
NEW YORK — Drug chain Duane Reade here last week launched a new line of food and beverage items under the exclusive DR Delish label. The 25 new items are “interesting, unique and high-quality food products and beverages that taste great,” according to a statement from Joe Magnacca, chief merchandising officer. The DR Delish line includes packaged juices, teas, trail mix crunches, baked potato crisps, multigrain snacks, brownies and cookies. An expanded line of products is expected to be available for the holiday season, with more than 100 products available by year-end.
LOBLAW CLOSES T&T SUPERMARKETS BUY
TORONTO — Loblaw Cos. here last week said it has closed on its acquisition of T&T Supermarkets, a Vancouver, British Columbia-based Asian supermarket chain. The acquisition was announced in July. Loblaw said it would pay $225 million Canadian for T&T, or about $205.6 million U.S. T&T operates 17 stores and is estimated to generate nearly $500 million in annual sales.
BROOKSHIRE BUYS LONE MINYARD STORE
TYLER, Texas — Brookshire Grocery Co. here said last week it has acquired a single Minyard Food Store location in Seagoville, Texas, and will relocate its current store in that market to the new location. The purchase price for the 31,000-square-foot store was not disclosed. The new store will allow Brookshire to begin offering prescription drugs in the market. Brookshire operates 156 stores in Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi.
WINN-DIXIE ROLLS OUT NEW ECO-BAGS
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Winn-Dixie Stores here said it is introducing a new line of high-quality reusable grocery bags featuring trendy designs with high-color graphics. The bags, which will retail for $1.50 each, feature four different graphics: fresh flowers, strawberries, orange trees and mangoes.