A&P LOSES ‘EMPORIUM’ WEB BATTLES
MONTVALE, N.J. — A&P here went one-for-three in efforts to win website domain names for its Food Emporium banner, winning a judgment against the registrant of foodemporium.org, but losing similar arguments against the registrants of foodemporium.com and foodemporium.net, according to the National Arbitration Forum. A&P, which operates a website for The Food Emporium banner under the domain name thefoodemporium.com, had argued that the registrants of the similar domains (which do not include the word “the” in the address) used those sites to divert users looking for A&P's website to sites offering links to third-party commercial websites. However, in separate rulings, the registrants of the .com and .net domains convinced the panel that their respective use of the term “food emporium” was “widely used and descriptive” and legitimate in attracting users to links of goods and services related to that term. The registrant of foodemporium.org failed to submit a response to A&P's complaint.
UNITED NATURAL PROJECTS GAINS IN '09
DAYVILLE, Conn. — United Natural Foods here last week said it expects profit growth to return during the 2009 fiscal year after the natural food distributor posted a decline in net income for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2008. The company, which had struggled with the acquisition of Millbrook Distribution Services, said net income for the fourth quarter, which ended Aug. 2, fell 2.3% to $12.8 million. Sales were up 29%, to $911.9 million; the increase was 20.3% excluding Millbrook. Comparable-sales growth totaled 11.9%, excluding Millbrook and the extra week in the most recent quarter. For the year, net income was down 3.3%, to $48.5 million, on a sales gain of 22.2%, to $3.37 billion. For 2009, the company projected earnings-per-share gains of 17% to 24%, adjusted for the 53-week year in 2008, on a sales gain of 10% to 12%.
GRISTEDES TO APPEAL LABOR DECISION
NEW YORK — A spokesman for Gristedes last week said the retailer would appeal a U.S. District Court ruling that Gristedes violated state and federal labor laws. The suit, filed four years ago, seeks as much as $25 million in back pay for workers who were allegedly denied overtime pay. “Gristedes was simply following supermarket and retail industry standards,” the spokesman, Rob Ryan, told SN last week. “We disagree with the ruling and intend to appeal.” Several other New York-area retailers, including A&P and Duane Reade, are battling similar suits, Ryan said.
WAL-MART ASIA HQ IN HONG KONG
HONG KONG — Wal-Mart Stores, Bentonville, Ark., said last week it has established a new regional headquarters for Asia here to oversee its operations in China, India and Japan and to identify new business opportunities throughout Asia. According to Vicente Trius, president and chief executive officer for Wal-Mart Asia, “Hong Kong is a great staging area from which to manage our current portfolio and potential future expansion.” Brian Walker, vice president, people, for Wal-Mart Asia, said the city has “an abundant pool of talent and professionals … [to enable] Wal-Mart to recruit the right local staff. In addition, Hong Kong is equipped with excellent transportation, communications and technology infrastructure, which are essential tools for our regional management team.”