KROGER SETTLES TAX-FRAUD PROBE
CINCINNATI — Kroger here reportedly paid a settlement to the Internal Revenue Service after federal authorities revealed it had taken millions in deductions through a bogus tax shelter. According to U.S. Department of Justice, Kroger claimed more than $178 million in loss deductions between 2002 and 2004 through a tax shelter known as the Sale Leaseback of Tenant Improvements Strategy (SLOTS), causing more than $64 million in tax losses to the IRS. Kroger was not made aware of the scheme, according to federal authorities, who said it was implemented and marketed by Trans-Capital Corp., an investment company in northern Virginia, to corporate clients of the KPMG tax firm, including Kroger. Michael Parker, who was chief operating officer of Trans-Capital, pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges last week.
U.S. CHAMBER HONORS WEGMANS
WASHINGTON — Wegmans Food Markets, Rochester, N.Y., last week accepted the 2009 Corporate Stewardship Award from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce here. The chamber recognized the retailer for providing community support to charities, employee scholarships and the United Way. It noted that Wegmans supplied 16 million pounds of food for hunger relief in 2008 and raised $2 million in customer point-of-sale cash donations for food banks through its Check Out Hunger campaign. It was also lauded for having provided more than $67 million in scholarships to 2,500 students in pursuit of a higher education since 1984.
WORKERS VOTE AT WOODMAN'S
JANESVILLE, Wis. — Workers at a Woodman's Food Market here will vote this week on whether to recover the union representation they lost earlier this year. The attempt at reorganizing is a provision of a private settlement struck between Woodman's and United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1473 to decertify the union at four Woodman's stores, including the Janesville location. The vote will decide whether workers at the Janesville store only would organize, according to Irv Gottschalk, the National Labor Relation Board's regional director in Milwaukee.
INGLES EXPANDS DISCOUNT CONCEPT
ASHEVILLE, N.C. — Sav-Mor, the discount format operated by Ingles Markets here, has opened a new location in Greeneville, Tenn., and will soon open in Hendersonville, N.C., according to reports. The new stores will expand the fledgling discount banner to eight stores throughout Ingles' market area. According to Ingles, the Sav-Mor concept accommodates smaller shopping areas, carrying a limited selection of groceries, fresh meat and produce, and are generally located in areas where the company has determined that demographics could not support a full-service supermarket. The Greeneville and Hendersonville stores are located in former Ingles Market locations.
H-E-B SEEKS TO GROW IN DALLAS
SAN ANTONIO — H.E. Butt Grocery Co. here is seeking new store sites in the Dallas/Fort Worth market, according to a report in the San Antonio Business Journal last week. H-E-B, which currently operates four of its Central Market specialty stores in the area, may also consider other store formats, according to a spokeswoman quoted in the report.