SYDNEY, Australia -- Jewel Food Stores here is mulling offers from potential buyers of its 96-store operation.
en though it wasn't actively seeking to sell the company, according to J.R. Fleming, Jewel's chairman.
"The decision to consider offers from outside interests for Jewel is a difficult one for both myself and my family, as we have been involved in grocery retailing since early this century and had built Jewel up from small origins in 1971," Fleming said. "This decision was prompted by some unsolicited offers that caused the family to give serious consideration to their ongoing interest in retailing." Fleming said the security of Jewel's 5,000 employees will be "one of the key matters the family will consider" as it weighs a potential buyer.
Jewel is a wholly owned subsidiary of South Terrace Holdings Pty. Ltd., a company owned by the Fleming family. Jewel has sales exceeding $592 million U.S. and market shares of approximately 8.9% in New South Wales, 3.7% in Victoria and 0.7% in Queensland, the company said. Its principal wholesaler, Davids Ltd. here, issued a statement, following Jewel's disclosure of the tender, in which John David, executive chairman, said his company is ready to negotiate a supply agreement with any new owners of the Jewel chain.