INVESTOR SEEKS TARGET BOARD SEAT
MINNEAPOLIS — An activist investor pushing for Target Corp. here to unlock value in its real estate portfolio announced last week a slate of five nominees for the retailer's board of directors, including Jim Donald, the former chief executive at Pathmark, Starbucks and other food retailers. Target had previously said it would not recommend the investor, Bill Ackman of Pershing Square Capital Management, or another of his nominees, for its board and recommended instead the reelection of four directors whose terms expire on the date of its annual meeting, May 28. Pershing last week argued that Target's board lacks retail experience, particularly with food, and said the company had not gotten credit for the value of its real estate in its stock price. Pershing argued that the company should spin off its real estate to a separate real estate investment trust.
PUBLIX STINGS BRUNO'S Q3 SALES
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — A rash of competitive openings from non-union operators — particularly Publix — has been sinking results from Bruno's Supermarkets, Bruno's officials revealed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court here. In papers filed by Scott North, Bruno's vice president of operations, in support of the retailer's call to decertify Bruno's union contract to facilitate a sale, a new Publix store in Orange Beach, Ala., five miles away from an existing Bruno's store, drove sales at Bruno's down by 82.2% during the third quarter. A new Publix in Gulf Breeze, Fla., helped send sales at a Bruno's store less than a mile away down by 59.6%. And in Pelham, Ala., a new Publix adversely affected sales at two Bruno's-operated stores, sending sales at one store down by 20.5% and another by 25.8%.
ARDEN GROUP POSTS 2.6% COMPS IN Q4
LOS ANGELES — Arden Group, parent company of 18 Gelson's Markets, said economic conditions, increased competition and increased food prices pressured sales and earnings for the 14-week fourth quarter, which ended Jan. 3, though sales and earnings increased slightly. For the quarter, which had an extra week compared with the prior year, net income rose 0.7% to $7.4 million, while sales increased 2.6% to $129.5 million and comparable-store sales were also up 2.6%. Net income for the year, which also contained an extra week, fell 15.5% to $24.7 million, while sales declined 1.4% to $479.1 million.
FOODTOWN STORES REOPEN AS FOODKING
AVENEL, N.J. — The Foodtown cooperative here last week said one of its members will rebrand three stores to the FoodKing banner. The stores — located in the New Jersey towns of Roselle, Springfield and Union — are all owned by the Ginsberg family. The stores will offer expanded perishables departments, including produce and deli, and will continue to carry the Foodtown private-label brand. Bill Donahoe, president and chief operating officer, Foodtown, told SN that changes will also include more aggressive pricing in some areas. The store also will not participate in the S&H Greenpoints program like other Foodtown stores.
DELHAIZE BUYS 4 STORES IN ROMANIA
BRUSSELS — Delhaize Group here said last week that its Mega Image subsidiary had agreed to acquire four supermarkets in Romania for an undisclosed sum. The stores, currently operating under the Prodas Holding Supermarket banner, will be converted to Mega Image supermarkets, Delhaize said. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter.