UKROP'S TALKS BREAK DOWN: SOURCE
RICHMOND, Va. — Ukrop's Super Markets here is in limbo again after the private equity group that entered into exclusive negotiations to purchase the chain dropped out of the bidding, sources told SN last week. Speaking on condition of anonymity, the source told SN that some “contractual issues and an inability to get financing” were the primary reasons talks broke down, and that Ukrop's has since resumed shopping itself to some bidders from earlier rounds. Those talks included negotiations with a strategic suitor, Harris Teeter, that broke down in part because Harris Teeter was not interested in buying all of Ukrop's store locations, the source added. Ukrop's has not commented on a potential sale.
SAFEWAY, KROGER EYE NEW BARGAINING
DENVER — Both Kroger Co. and Safeway told SN last week they are considering their options here following an invitation by United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 7 to return to the bargaining table. The invitation followed what a union spokeswoman said was an “overwhelming” rejection of the chains' contract offer. Safeway workers also agreed to authorize a strike, while employees at Kroger-owned King Soopers and City Markets voted only to reject the offer. The two sides have not met face-to-face since early September.
COURT DECLINES FAMILY DOLLAR APPEAL
MATTHEWS, N.C. — Family Dollar Stores here said it was “disappointed” that the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review a federal court case that cost the retailer more than $35 million. The suit claimed that Family Dollar skirted responsibility for paying its workers overtime wages by classifying them as managers. The National Retail Federation and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, along with Family Dollar, believed the case had issues that were important for the court to consider, the retailer said. A jury awarded around 1,440 employees $19 million in 2006. A U.S. District Court judge later increased the award to $35 million. Family Dollar said it had already reserved funds to pay the judgment.
STOP & SHOP CLOSING MAINE STORE
QUINCY, Mass. — Stop & Shop here will close its only store in Maine by the end of the month, and has changed plans to build a second store in the state, the retailer said last week. Stop & Shop opened its first store in Kennebunk in June 2007. A Stop & Shop spokeswoman told SN last week that it decided to close the store after a business review. Separately, Stop & Shop has decided not to proceed with plans to build a second location in Portland, saying the plan was unfeasible in the current economy. Stop & Shop has no further plans for stores in Maine, the spokeswoman added.
SALES, EARNINGS SLOW FOR VILLAGE
SPRINGFIELD, N.J. — Same-store sales growth slowed and net income decreased at Village Super Markets here during the fourth quarter, and the company expected those trends would continue into the 2010 fiscal year. The retailer, which operates 26 ShopRite supermarkets in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, posted same-store sales of 4.8% for the fiscal year, but 1.8% in the fourth quarter, which ended July 25. Quarterly net income of $6.68 million was down by 3% as compared with the same period in fiscal 2008. Sales of $310.9 million increased by 4.3%. For the fiscal year, Village earned $27.2 million on sales of $1.2 billion. Earnings were up by 21% and sales increased by 7.1%.