PUBLIX POSTS 6.5% INCREASE IN 4Q PROFITS
LAKELAND, Fla. — Publix Super Markets here last week posted a 6.5% gain in net income for the fourth quarter, to $311 million, on a 6.1% increase in sales, to $5.9 billion. Comparable-store sales were up 3.6%. For the full year, net income rose 7.9%, to $1.2 billion, on a 6.3% increase in sales to $23 billion. Comps for the full year were up 4.3%. “Our operating performance continues to be solid under difficult economic conditions,” said Charles Jenkins Jr., chief executive officer, in a prepared statement. The company said the value of its stock, which is not publicly traded but is owned by current and former employees, was appraised at $20.70 per share.
VILLAGE TEMPERS OUTLOOK FOR 3Q SALES
SPRINGFIELD, N.J. — Village Super Market here, which operates 25 ShopRite stores in New Jersey, last week said it expects same-store sales in the current quarter to be impacted by “cautious” behavior on the part of consumers. The company said same-store sales for its fiscal third quarter, which began Jan. 27, would be in the range of -1% to +1%, reflecting shoppers' “concerns about the economy and rising food and fuel prices.” That compares with same-store sales gains of 2.3% in the second quarter. In that 13-week period, the company said net income rose 27%, to $6.44 million, compared with results from the year-ago second quarter. Sales rose 8.3%, in part due to the opening of two new stores. Through the first 26 weeks, net income was up 16%, to $10.74 million, on sales gains of 6.6%, to $556.4 million, including same-store sales gains of 2.9%.
JUDGE TOSSES CALIF. WORKER-RETENTION LAW
LOS ANGELES — A judge here last week ruled that a local ordinance that would have required supermarkets to retain workers for at least 90 days after a store changed owners was unconstitutional. Superior Court Judge Ralph W. Dau said the law conflicted with statewide food safety and food handling laws and discriminated between grocery stores based on size and whether they have a collective bargaining agreement with the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, in violation of equal protection guarantees of the federal and state constitutions. Jill Rulon, acting president, California Grocers Association, said the association, which had fought against the ordinance, was satisfied with the ruling. “The ordinance is unlawful and unenforceable because it is pre-empted by federal labor relations laws, violates the equal protection rights of employers, conflicts with state food-related health and safety laws and improperly dictates rules of employment.”
LOCAL CO-OP SALES APPROACH $1 BILLION
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Offering a strong selection of natural and organic foods helped members of the National Cooperative Grocers Association post more than $945 million in combined sales during 2007, the NCGA here said. That figure places cooperative grocers among the top three sellers of natural, organic and local foods.
KROGER'S MEMPHIS WORKERS RATIFY PACT
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Members of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1529 here last week ratified a new, four-year agreement with Kroger Co., Cincinnati, covering more than 7,500 workers at 72 stores in five states. Terms of the agreement, which was previously reported as tentative, were not disclosed. “This agreement provides wage increases and affordable, quality health care benefits for our employees and their families and keeps Kroger competitive in the marketplace,” said Mark Prestige, president of Kroger's Delta division.