Wal-Mart Stores here said last week it is eliminating 400 headquarters jobs, 300 of which are currently unfilled. A Wal-Mart spokesman told SN the 100 employees whose jobs were eliminated make up approximately 1% of the company's headquarters staff, and he added that Wal-Mart is assisting them in finding positions elsewhere in the organization. He explained that the cuts were part of a routine periodic review of company operations.
ST. LOUIS -- Save-A-Lot here said last week it plans to enter the Capital District of upstate New York later this year with approximately eight stores. Save-A-Lot -- a subsidiary of Supervalu, Minneapolis, which owns and licenses the limited assortment stores -- said it is negotiating to secure sites and expects to open up to eight locations within a year in Albany, Schenectady and Troy. The existing Save-A-Lots that are closest to the Capital District are located slightly more than 100 miles away in Norwich and Peekskill, the company said. Supervalu owns or licenses more than 900 Save-A-Lot stores in 36 states.
DALLAS -- Fleming here said its local, regional and national sourcing and distribution network deserves the credit for keeping 70 stores in its Milwaukee division stocked with produce this weekend, after an ammonia gas leak destroyed nearly $400,000 in fresh produce at a company warehouse. Louis Stinebaugh, division president, told SN the division personnel worked "around the clock" in conjunction with Fleming's central procurement office, and managed to replace 95% of the stock within 36 hours. A cloud of ammonia gas from the warehouse's refrigeration system exposed the fruit and vegetables to ammonia levels 40 times higher than considered safe for humans, according to emergency service workers who responded to the emergency. One worker received minor injuries.
NEW YORK -- Consumers are expected to spend about 4% less on back-to-school merchandise this year than they did in 2000, according to a survey released by American Express here last week. Parents and teenagers will spend an average of $527 on clothing and other school supplies this season, vs. $548 last year, the financial company predicted. While parents' spending is projected to hold steady at $426 this year vs. $424 last year, teens' back-to-school budgets declined to $101, down 19% from last year's total of $124. Separately, some analysts said they expect retailers to capitalize on income-tax refunds to boost back-to-school spending. But Sarah Scheuer, a spokeswoman for the National Retail Federation, Washington, said she expects retailers to promote the refund as a means to pay for high-ticket, back-to-school items like clothing rather than for supplies.
CHICAGO -- IGA here said it has selected Harsha & Associates here as its agency of record for IGA North America. IGA said the Harsha agency will work closely with Duane Martin, president of IGA North America, to direct advertising and promotions for more than 1,700 retailers and 11 distribution companies across North America.