inn-Dixie's Chek Beverage and Astor Products private-label products and manufacturing equipment is scheduled this week here, according to documents filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. Winn-Dixie said it has decided to cease production at its Astor facility in Jacksonville, which produces private-label coffee and spices, and to sell leasehold interests in its Fitzgerald, Ga., plant where it produces Chek beverages and condiments. Winn-Dixie has accepted a stalking horse bid for the facilities and equipment from a joint-venture led by the Gordon Co., but said it would seek higher bids. Last week, Winn-Dixie informed the Securities and Exchange Commission that disruptions caused by its bankruptcy will delay the filing of its 10-K, which it said is likely to show a $666 million loss from continuing operations.
CLEVELAND -- United Food and Commercial Workers Local 880 here and several northeast Ohio supermarket employers have agreed to extend negotiations for a new labor contract, union officials said. Local 880 represents employees at Giant Eagle, Tops, Heinen's, F.W. Albrecht and Fisher Foods in Cleveland, Akron/Canton and Youngstown. "Progress has been made in the negotiations, but a variety of complex issues remain to be resolved," the union said. The contract was to have expired Sept. 11.
NEW YORK -- Citing higher debt levels and lower availability of capital, Standard & Poor's here last week lowered its corporate credit rating for Marsh Supermarkets to "B-" from "B" and placed a negative outlook on the Indianapolis-based retailer. "The ratings on Marsh reflect the company's very heavy debt burden, below-average operating margins, and negative free operating cash flow, as well as the highly competitive nature of the supermarket industry," S&P said in a statement. Marsh reported lease-adjusted debt of $426 million as of June 25 and will need to refinance a revolving credit facility that matures in February.
LOS ANGELES -- Smart & Final here said it will record a pre-tax charge of about $19 million in the third quarter to account for compensation and other expenses stemming from an agreement in principle to settle a class-action lawsuit involving overtime pay. The suit, which was certified as a class action early last year, covers approximately 13,000 potential class members who worked for the company during the prior six years. Smart & Final has denied any liability, and the settlement specifically disclaims any liability or wrongdoing by the company.
NEW YORK -- United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1500 here said it plans to expands its campaign against Whole Foods Market locations in New York City in the coming weeks by publicizing what it describes as "the conservative, far right-wing views" of John Mackey, chairman and chief executive officer of the Austin, Texas-based chain. "It's a slap in New Yorkers' faces," said Patrick Purcell, director of organizing for the local. The union is also stepping up its picketing campaign against the four-store Garden of Eden natural food chain. Neither Garden of Eden nor Whole Foods could be reached for comment last week.