AUSTIN, Texas — The Securities and Exchange Commission has concluded its investigation into the message-board postings of Whole Foods Market's chairman and chief executive officer, John Mackey, and has not recommended any enforcement action against him or Whole Foods, the retailer here said. Mackey's postings on Yahoo's stock message boards, in which he used a pseudonym to praise his own company and bash competitors, including Wild Oats, came to light last year as Whole Foods was seeking to acquire Wild Oats. The deal has since been completed. Whole Foods' board also investigated Mackey's postings and in October of last year “reaffirmed its support of the Whole Foods Market leadership team,” Whole Foods said.
MONTVALE, N.J. — A&P is readying a new “price impact” prototype it will roll out in two New Jersey Pathmark locations this month, sources told SN. The new formats, targeted for existing Pathmark stores in Edison and Irvington, will emphasize a low-price positioning but will offer more than 20,000 SKUs and include elements inspired by European hypermarkets. A&P acquired Pathmark last year.
MAULDIN, S.C. — Bi-Lo Holdings plans to introduce a new limited-frills format this week — called Food$mart — at a converted store in Lenoir, N.C. The company said it is also looking at other locations for future conversions but has not made any final plans. The company said Food$mart will cater to customers “who want and need very low prices and are willing to accept limited frills in their shopping experience.” Rich Ramey, director of new business development, said the store will have select national and regional brands, along with its Southern Home private-label line. He said Food$mart will be able to offer lower prices by trimming back services, with shorter hours; few sizes of certain items; a lack of uniform sizes in bags of potatoes and apples; and self-serve-only in deli and bakery products.
PLEASANTON, Calif. — Safeway here said last week it has formed the Better Living Brands Alliance to market its O Organics and Eating Right brands to other retail channels in the U.S. The alliance's mission, Safeway said, “is to provide health and wellness food and beverage solutions via two proven multi-category brands.” The Better Living Brands Alliance includes manufacturing, marketing and distribution companies as brand licensees; co-pack and distribution partners to provide a supply chain network; and support from EMAK Worldwide, a group of marketing agencies based in Los Angeles, for communications with consumers, and from Crossmark, a professional services company for consumer goods based in Plano, Texas, for communications with retailers.
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Meijer Inc. last week said it will offer $30 coupons for every $300 spent on a Meijer gift card purchased in the month of May, joining several other retailers that have launched programs to get shoppers to cash their tax-rebate and economic stimulus checks at their stores. The rebates, in increments of $300, began arriving last week. Roundy's Supermarkets, Milwaukee, said it will add 10% to gift cards purchased with rebate checks and add coupons good for a free reusable grocery bag, a free loaf of bread, a free half-gallon of milk and a free dozen eggs.