OFFICIALS INVESTIGATE THIRD U.S. CASE OF MAD COW
tment of Agriculture last week were planning to exhume the carcass of an Alabama cow that tested positive for mad cow disease to learn more about its breed and age, and look for any form of identification such as ear tags. The cow had lived on the Alabama farm for less than a year, so investigators want to determine the animal's place of birth. Last week's announcement of a third U.S. case of mad cow came just as USDA officials said the enhanced surveillance program was coming to an end, prompting an outcry from critics who think the government should test more animals for the disease. Since June 2004, the government has tested more than 650,000 samples for bovine spongiform encephalopathy. A USDA spokesman said no date for ending the surveillance program has been set. "Those people calling for more testing are calling for testing on animals that wouldn't have it anyway," said spokesman Jim Rogers, noting the USDA's program targets high-risk animals. In the meantime, industry representatives at the Annual Meat Conference in Dallas appeared more concerned about the threat of avian flu than mad cow disease. Bird flu dominated a panel discussion featuring representatives from the beef, pork, chicken and turkey industries (see Pages 10 and 38).
PUBLIX TO ADD 400 GENERATORS FOR STORM RECOVERY
LAKELAND, Fla. - Publix Super Markets here last week said it plans to install 400 stationary and mobile generators at stores in hurricane-prone locations. The project, which Publix said it expects to complete by July 2007, will cost the employee-owned chain about $100 million, the company said. In addition, Publix said it would install 175 quick-connecting docking stations for mobile generators in lower-probability hurricane areas. "Our customers depend on Publix to be open and operational directly following a hurricane," said spokeswoman Maria Brous.
ARDEN'S 2005 EARNINGS SLIDE ON TOUGH COMPARISONS
LOS ANGELES - Annual sales and earnings decreased for Arden Group, operators of Gelson's Markets here, due to difficult comparisons against 2004 sales boosted by the labor dispute involving competitors, the company said. For the year ending Dec. 31, earnings fell by 12.4% to $19.8 million on sales of $470.4 million, a decrease of 6.6%. For the 13-week fourth quarter, sales increased 1.6% to $124.2 million, helped in part by the Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah holidays falling in the fourth quarter of 2005 vs. the third quarter of 2004, the retailer said. Gross profit as a percent of sales increased on the year to 45.6% vs. 44.8% in 2004, due to a combination of cost reductions and pricing decisions. Arden operates 18 Gelson's Market supermarkets in the Los Angeles area.
FOODARAMA POSTS 1Q SALES, EARNINGS INCREASES
FREEHOLD, N.J. - Sales increased by 2% and earnings improved by 142.2% during the fiscal first quarter that ended Jan. 28 for Foodarama Supermarkets, the company said last week. Same-store sales increased 2.3%. Overall results include a new location in Pennington, N.J., purchased from Wakefern Food Corp. in September. The company also closed a store in Edison, N.J., in November. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization increased 2.3% to $11 million. Overall, the company reported net income of $613,000, or 59 cents per share, on sales of $323.9 million.
C&S TO CLOSE BALTIMORE SUPERFRESH WAREHOUSE
KEENE, N.H. - C&S Wholesale Grocers here said it would close the Baltimore-area warehouse it acquired as part of a deal to supply A&P-owned stores last year. Work at the warehouse, which served A&P's SuperFresh stores, would be transferred to other facilities once the warehouse closes April 28, C&S said.