BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Tom Coughlin, the former Wal-Mart Stores executive who pleaded guilty to fraud and tax evasion charges related to improper spending of company funds, may spend time in federal prison after all. A federal appeals court last week denied Coughlin's bid to overturn an earlier court determination that a home-sentencing was too light a punishment, according to the Associated Press. Coughlin was previously sentenced to 27 months' home confinement by a U.S. District Court judge after Coughlin's lawyers argued that their client had health problems that wouldn't receive adequate care in prison.
MINNEAPOLIS — Target Corp. here could open an average of one food distribution center per year for the next 10 years to serve a rapidly expanding number of SuperTarget locations, according to a New York-based analyst. Deborah Weinswig, an analyst with Citigroup Global Markets, in a written report last week said Target's decision to open its own food warehouses could enable the growth of SuperTargets to mirror that of Wal-Mart Supercenters over the 14 years since Wal-Mart began opening its own food distribution centers. Target has announced plans to open the first facility — a perishables warehouse — next year in Lake City, Fla. Target would own the building and inventory, while Supervalu, also based here, would oversee the logistics. Target has said SuperTargets will represent 25% to 40% of its unit growth going forward, compared with 15% to 25% over the past three years. Target officials could not be reached for comment.
LONDON — Supermarkets in the United Kingdom could be forced to sell land for future stores to rival operators, and/or remove restrictive language from their property leases, according to the U.K. Competition Committee, which released results of its inquiry into competitive practices in the grocery industry last week. The study cleared Tesco of charges it was driving smaller rivals of the business, but said a lack of competition in certain markets hurts consumers and allows food retailers to weaken their offers to consumers nationally. “In most areas shoppers have good choice and benefit from strong competition between retailers, but in a number of local areas more competition would benefit consumers both locally and more generally,” Peter Freeman, chairman of the Competition Committee, said in a statement.
TORONTO — Loblaw here said last week that it would launch 140 new products under its President's Choice private label this month inspired by tastes from around the world. Among the products in the launch are hand-rolled dim sum from China; Dulce de Leche — known as “sex in a bottle” — from Argentina; and tarte au chocolate and tarte au citron from Paris. Representatives of Loblaw unveiled the new items — the largest rollout of new products in President's Choice's history — at an event here last week.
ARLINGTON, Va. — The National Grocers Association announced last week three keynote speakers for the opening session of its 2008 annual convention, scheduled for Feb. 5-8 at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas. They are Tony Snow, former press secretary to President Bush; Tom Daschle, former U.S. senator from South Dakota and former Senate majority leader; and Fareed Zakaria, editor of Newsweek International and host of “Foreign Exchange” on PBS. Following their presentations, they will participate in a panel with Tom Zaucha, NGA president and chief executive officer, to discuss issues facing the U.S. at home and abroad.