LAKELAND, Fla. — Publix Super Markets saw earnings rebound in the third quarter despite flat sales and falling comps. The retailer here last week reported quarterly earnings of $254.9 million on sales of $5.8 billion for the period ending Sept. 30. Earnings increased 26.3% from the same period last year, when earnings fell by 18.9%. Sales were up 0.6%, while comparable-store sales fell by 4.7%. Publix stock, which is available only to directors and employees, increased to $16.30 per share from $16.05 a share, based on an appraisal. For the nine-month period, Publix reported earnings of $877.3 million — a 4.4% increase — on sales of $18.2 billion. Sales are up 1.2% for the year to date while comps are down by 3.4%.
LOS ANGELES — Three former executives of Ralphs Grocery Co. here are suing the company for terminating them in the wake of the 2003-2004 strike-lockout. The suit comes after the three executives — Patrick McGowan, Scott Drew and Karen Montoya — were acquitted in June of fraud and conspiracy in a scheme to rehire locked out workers using false identities during the labor dispute. Cincinnati-based Kroger, the parent company of Ralphs, paid more than $70 million in damages stemming from a federal investigation into the hiring dispute. The suit alleges the plaintiffs were fired as “part of a broader blame-shifting effort adopted by the defendants to shield Ralphs and its senior management from criminal responsibility” for actions taken by senior Ralphs executives. It seeks a jury trial and unspecified damages against Ralphs, Kroger, Fry's and up to 20 unnamed individuals comprising senior management at those companies. Kroger officials were not available for comment.
NEW YORK — A new Stop & Shop store financed in part by federal stimulus money broke ground here last week. The $23 million, 55,000-square-foot store will anchor the retail portion of the Averne By the Sea mixed-use project, built on long-neglected land in Rockaway Beach in the borough of Queens. The store will be funded in part by $5.5 million in tax-exempt bonds made available through the federal stimulus program, Gerry Romski, a project manager for developer Benjamin-Beechwood, told SN. The store is expected to open in 2011.
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — Food Basics, A&P's hard-discount format, will make its Connecticut debut here this week. The retailer is planning a grand opening Nov. 13 in a former A&P Super Foodmart location at 1700 Park Ave. According to A&P, Montvale, N.J., the Food Basics format can turn conventional supermarkets that were losing money into profitable stores. The Bridgeport store would be the 12th Food Basics store in the U.S.
SALISBURY, N.C. — Eric Watson, vice president of talent acquisition and the office of diversity and inclusion at Food Lion, was presented with the first-ever Diversity Champion Award by The Diversity Forum, Charlotte. The Diversity Champion Award recognizes an individual who advances Charlotte's effort to promote employment diversity. At Food Lion, Watson has developed strategies to impact business success by creating a vision to manage diversity, designing leadership mentoring programs to promote diversity and establishing an accountability system for business diversity.