SCHNUCK'S TO BUILD SMALL-FORMAT ST. LOUIS STORE
ST. LOUIS — Schnuck Markets last week confirmed plans to build a “cosmopolitan and urban” fresh-food store in downtown St. Louis. The two-level store, planned for 20,800 square feet, will be less than half the size of Schnuck's typical suburban locations, and will occupy the lower level of the 9th Street Garage, part of the Old Post Office redevelopment serving a growing downtown population. The store will feature a floral shop, coffee bar, service meat and seafood area, and several prepared-food stations. Plans call for a tapas tasting area and wine shop in the mezzanine, according to Scott Schnuck, chief executive officer. The store is scheduled to open late this year or in early 2009.
ALBERTSONS LLC SELLS TWO STORES IN CONSOLIDATION
BOISE, Idaho — Albertsons LLC here said it is merging two of its divisions to increase efficiencies. Under the merger plan, 35 of the 37 stores in the Rocky Mountain division, based in Aurora, Colo., will join the 81 stores in the Southwest division, based in Phoenix, in a new 116-store Southwest division based in Phoenix. Two stores in the former Rocky Mountain division — in Scottsbluff, Neb., and Rapid City, S.D. — are being sold to Nash Finch Co., Minneapolis, “due to their remote location in relation to [the company's] core markets in Colorado,” the company said. Bob Colgrove, president of the existing Southwest division, will head the new enlarged division, while Shane Dorcheus, former vice president of the Rocky Mountain division, who had been running that division, will become vice president, operations, in the new Southwest division. The company said the 35 remaining stores in the former Rocky Mountain division will continue to be supplied from the company's Denver distribution center, while the other 81 stores will continue to be serviced out of Phoenix.
HOUCHENS BUYS 7 CINCINNATI SAVE-A-LOTS: REPORT
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — Houchens Industries here has purchased seven Cincinnati-area Save-A-Lot stores from Freedom Foods, a Dry Ridge, Ky.-based operator, reports said last week. Freedom Foods is a subsidiary of Remke Markets, Erlanger, Ky., according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. Houchens operates 200 Save-A-Lot stores in 13 states, as well as stores operating under the IGA, Food Giant and Piggly Wiggly banners. Houchens officials were not immediately available for comment.
KROGER, MEMPHIS EMPLOYEES REACH AGREEMENT
MEMPHIS — Kroger Co. has reached a tentative agreement on a new contract for 7,500 of its workers represented by United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1529 here. The agreement covers workers at 72 stores in the Memphis area, as well as in parts of Tennessee, Arkansas and Kentucky. Kroger, based in Cincinnati, declined to provide further details of the new deal, pending a ratification vote by union members.
PUBLIX TOPS CUSTOMER SATISFACTION SURVEY
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Publix Super Markets retained the top post in the University of Michigan's annual study of customer satisfaction. The Lakeland, Fla.-based chain achieved a score of 83, ahead of the channel average of 76. Whole Foods Market, Austin, Texas, debuted on the list with a score of 73. The report said the data on Whole Foods “suggest that even though it has the highest quality in the industry, it has the weakest customer loyalty.” Other companies on the list included Kroger, with a score of 75; Supervalu, 74; Safeway, 72; and Winn-Dixie Stores and Wal-Mart Stores, both 71. Overall customer satisfaction with supermarkets was up 1.3% over year-ago levels, achieving the highest score in 14 years. Overall retail satisfaction was down 0.3%, to 74.2. The study measures customer satisfaction in several business channels every year in the fourth quarter.