Co. here last week said the company has "no current plans to sell any of our stores" in response to a report that the company is considering selling or shuttering up to 40% of its locations. The wholesaler, which operates 109 supermarkets in the Midwest under several banners, has recorded several consecutive quarters of same-store sales declines amid increasing competition from Wal-Mart Stores, Bentonville, Ark., and others. Asked if Nash Finch was considering closing rather than seeking to sell some locations, the spokesman said he was not aware of any such plans.
CHICAGO -- Two locals of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union here last week called for a consumer boycott of the Potash Bros. and Treasure Island supermarkets, whose contracts with the locals expired March 7. The UFCW said the two chains, which operate a total of eight stores here, are proposing to tighten the requirements for worker eligibility in health plans and replace the pension plan with a 401(k) program. UFCW Locals 881 and 1546 also filed a grievance against Treasure Island with the National Labor Relations Board accusing the chain of changing the terms of the workers' health care plans and enrolling employees in health plans not agreed to by the union. "We're trying to change the plan to reduce some of our costs, and I guess the union doesn't like that," said Art Potash, owner, Potash Bros. Treasure Island could not be reached for comment.
SHEBOYGAN, Wis. -- Fresh Brands here last week said a group of four independent supermarkets in Wisconsin would convert to the Piggly Wiggly banner and become franchisee-customers of Fresh Brands. David Hegenbarth, who operates the four stores under the Our Town IGA and Jubilee Foods banners, told SN he had been a customer for the past six months of Roundy's, Milwaukee. Prior to that, he was a customer of Fleming Cos., Dallas, before that company left the supermarket-wholesaling business last year. He expects the stores to convert to Piggly Wiggly by the end of April. Separately, Fresh Brands last week said it secured a three-year, $40 million revolving credit facility with LaSalle Bank and U.S. Bank, replacing an unsecured $35 million facility that was to expire April 30.
WILTON, Conn. -- Wal-Mart Stores, Target and Costco showed the most year-to-year gains of any food retailers in the annual survey of category-management performance conducted by Cannondale Associated here, the firm said last week. Wal-Mart, Bentonville, Ark., received the top ranking and showed a 13.3% gain over last year in the percentage of voters who ranked it in the top three. Wal-Mart "has demonstrated interest in testing new aisle and section concepts to meet the needs of its shoppers," Cannondale said in its report. Safeway, Pleasanton, Calif., was No. 2, and showed a 10.5% decline. H.E. Butt Grocery Co., San Antonio, was No. 3, followed by Kroger, Target, Publix, Wegmans, Ahold, Costco and Walgreens.