AWG, DILLON TRADE ACQUISITIONS IN MIDWEST
HUTCHINSON, Kan. — Dillon Stores here, a division of Kroger Co., Cincinnati, said it has reached an agreement to acquire three Homeland stores in Wichita, Kan., and two Price Chopper stores in Topeka, Kan. Dillon said the stores in Wichita are being acquired through Homeland Acquisition Corp., a subsidiary of Associated Wholesale Grocers, Kansas City, Kan.; AWG licenses the Price Choppers. The transaction is scheduled to close next month, after which Dillon said it will relocate three of its existing stores in Wichita to the more up-to-date Homeland sites. In a separate announcement last week, AWG said it has reached an agreement to purchase four food-and-drug combination stores from Dillon in Shawnee and Olathe, Kan., and Pleasant Hill, Mo., for an undisclosed price. The transaction is expected to close by the middle of February. The wholesaler said the stores will be passed on to independent retailers.
BRUNO'S SELECTS AGENCY TO ‘RE-INVENT’ BRAND
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Bruno's Supermarkets here last week said it has engaged the Godwin Group advertising agency to help the retailer “re-engergize our team and re-invent our brands,” according to a statement from Kent Moore, chief executive officer. Godwin Group, based in Jackson, Miss., will handle all of Bruno's advertising and public relations campaigns. It was selected after a three-month national search. Bruno's, which operates 67 stores, last year was separated from its sister chain Bi-Lo under the ownership of Lone Star Funds.
WAL-MART REDUCES PRICES IN ‘STIMULUS PLAN’
BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Wal-Mart Stores last week unveiled a raft of price cuts, ranging from 10% to 30%, on “thousands of items” in grocery, home health and other product lines in what the company described as a “stimulus plan” of its own for the economy. Many of the items were touted as Super Bowl fare, including several snack foods, such as four 12-packs of Pepsi for $10 and a 5-pound bag of Tyson frozen chicken wings for $8.88, as well as higher-end items like a 32-inch Vizio LCD TV for $597. Various HBC items, paper goods and other general merchandise products are also part of the sale.
KROGER EXITS MICHIGAN DEPOT, INKS UNION PACT
LIVONIA, Mich. — Kroger Co. will exit a warehouse here and instead supply its stores in the state from a warehouse in Delaware, Ohio, according to reports. The warehouse, which supplied all 138 of Kroger's Michigan locations, was owned by Kroger but operated under a contract with Supervalu, Minneapolis, a Supervalu spokeswoman told SN. The transition to the Ohio facility is expected to take place by the end of March. Meanwhile, about 900 store workers represented by United Food and Commercial Workers Local 951, Grand Rapids, reached a tentative contract agreement with Kroger and were expected to ratify the new contract late last week. The agreement would replace the union's current deal, which is set to expire in October, the union said, and run through October 2011.
UNION DECERTIFICATION SOUGHT AT WOODMAN'S
JANEVILLE, Wis. — Federal labor authorities held hearings last week regarding an effort to decertify United Food and Commercial Workers unions at five Woodman's Market stores. Irv Gottschalk, regional director of the National Labor Relations Board in Milwaukee, told SN last week that NLRB officials heard testimony from officials of the retailer, based here, and UFCW Local 1473, based in Madison, Wis., and would decide whether to proceed with decertification no earlier than mid-Febraury. At issue is whether the petitioner or other supporters of the decertification were in supervisory roles, Gottschalk said.