WAL-MART OPENS MIAMI LATIN HUB
MIAMI — Wal-Mart Stores last week opened new headquarters for its Latin America operations here. “We're very enthused about having our new Latin America regional headquarters here in Miami, which some describe as a gateway to Latin America,” Eduardo SolÓrzano, Wal-Mart's new president and chief executive for Latin America, said in a statement. “The opening of this new regional office reflects a renewed level of service and support.” He said the office also ensures that stores in the nine countries where Wal-Mart operates in Latin America, including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and Nicaragua, can have the support they need.”
FORMER AFS CEO PLEADS GUILTY
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The former president and chief executive officer of Affiliated Foods Southwest has pleaded guilty to charges of defrauding lenders. John Mills, who had served as the food distributor's president and CEO since 2004, left the company early last year, shortly before it filed for bankruptcy protection. The company was subsequently acquired by Associated Wholesale Grocers. Mills in a plea agreement filed in federal court here admitted to having defrauded U.S. Bank through a “check kiting” scheme between Sept. 29, 2008, and Feb. 27, 2009. Mills faces penalties of up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million, the papers said.
ACME WORKERS VOTE ON NEW OFFER
WEST BERLIN, N.J. — Union workers of Acme stores in New Jersey are scheduled to vote this week on a new contract with the employer. Representatives of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1360 here reached a tentative agreement with Supervalu-owned Acme, the details of which have not been disclosed. The agreement ended lengthy negotiations to replace a contract that expired last April.
OAKVILLE GROCERY TO REPLACE AJ'S
PHOENIX — Specialty grocer Oakville Grocery will open in a new development here that was to have hosted AJ's Fine Foods, officials said last week. A licensee of Oakville Grocery, based in Napa Valley, Calif., will take over a 9,000-square-foot spot in the CityScape mixed-use project under construction in downtown Phoenix. AJ's, a division of Chandler, Ariz.-based Bashas', pulled out of the project when it sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last year. Oakville opened its first Arizona location with a store in Scottsdale in January. Its store in the CityScape project is expected to open later this year.
GEORGIA KROGER WORKERS RATIFY DEAL
ATLANTA — Associates with Kroger stores in Atlanta and Savannah, Ga., have ratified new agreements with United Food & Commercial Workers Union Local 1996, Kroger said last week. The contracts cover more than 19,580 Kroger associates who work in 165 stores in and around Atlanta and 12 stores in Savannah.
PUBLIX, WEGMANS SCORE FOR SERVICE
NEW YORK — Publix Super Markets and Wegmans Food Markets were named in an annual ranking of the nation's top customer service-focused companies. The “Customer Service Champs” list published by BusinessWeek magazine here ranked Publix, Lakeland, Fla., No. 6 overall and Wegmans, Rochester, N.Y., as No. 12. They were the only supermarket companies named to the list, which ranked outdoor retailer L.L. Bean No. 1.