WINN-DIXIE SEEKS EXTENSION FOR REORGANIZATION PLAN
king to extend its period to propose a plan of reorganization by four months, the retailer said in U.S. Bankruptcy Court here. If granted, Winn-Dixie would have until Oct. 19 to submit a reorganization plan, and until Dec. 20 to solicit acceptances of the plan. Without the extension, the retailer would have to submit a plan by June 21 and solicit acceptances by Aug. 22. In court papers, Winn-Dixie argued it needed an extension due to the case's size and complexity, adding that an extension would increase the chances of consensual resolutions with its creditors. Winn-Dixie also said it has made good-faith progress to position itself toward formation of a reorganization plan. In a separate motion, Winn-Dixie asked the court to approve a retention plan offering bonuses for 290 key employees who stay with the retailer through the confirmation of a reorganization plan. Hearings on both motions are set for June 16.
SEC ENDS PROBE INTO GENERAL MILLS' ACCOUNTING
MINNEAPOLIS -- General Mills here said last week that the Securities and Exchange Commission is ending its investigation of the company's accounting practices and is recommending that no enforcement action be taken against the company. The SEC had launched an investigation in late October 2003 into allegations that the consumer packaged goods manufacturer had inflated sales by shipping more products at the end of each quarter. In February 2004, the SEC notified General Mills that it could be subject to a civil suit. A former General Mills account manager also was charged in January of this year with helping Ahold inflate its profits by signing false confirmation letters that artificially padded sales figures at Ahold's U.S. Foodservice subsidiary.
ROUNDY'S ADDS 'SUPERMARKETS' TO CORPORATE NAME
MILWAUKEE -- The board of directors of Roundy's here last week approved changing the corporate name from Roundy's Inc. to Roundy's Supermarkets. "The corporate name change symbolizes the transformation of Roundy's from a long-time wholesale grocery supplier to a premier grocery retailer," Robert Mariano, Roundy's chief executive officer, said in a statement. Since 2002, Roundy's has added 72 stores through new construction and acquisition under its Pick 'n Save, Copps Food Centers and Rainbow Foods banners and has narrowed its wholesale business.
WAL-MART, UFCW TRADE BLOWS ON HEALTH CARE
BENTONVILLE, Ark. -- Wal-Mart Stores here last week fired back against union claims that it passes health care costs along to taxpayers, saying the health care issue is "much broader than Wal-Mart." In a statement, M. Susan Chambers, Wal-Mart's executive vice president of benefits administration, said Wal-Mart estimates it has taken 160,000 people off the list of uninsured workers and cited a study showing its hourly employees' reliance on Medicaid reduces under Wal-Mart's employ. The statement came in response to press conferences held in several cities last week where members of the United Food and Commercial Workers union called for legislation to ensure Wal-Mart "pays its fair share" of the nation's health care burden.
MAN SENTENCED IN BASHAS' PRODUCT-TAMPERING HOAX
TUCSON, Ariz. -- A man who claimed he put rat poison into baby food at a Bashas' store here has been sentenced to 16 months in federal prison. Michael P. McLaughlin, 49, was also ordered to pay $15,000 in restitution to Bashas' after his hoax caused customers to return hundreds of jars of baby food to the store. McLaughlin was sentenced last week after pleading guilty in March to tampering with a consumer product. The incident occurred in August 2004 when McLaughlin told his sister he had put rat poison into five jars of baby food. The sister called police. McLaughlin later said he had made up the story to get attention from his sister.