STARBUCKS TO CLOSE 45 CAFES IN SAVE MART, LUCKY
SEATTLE — Starbucks last week said it will not renew licensee agreements with 45 Save Mart and Lucky Supermarket locations in Northern California and Nevada, forcing coffee stands in those stores to close within weeks. Starbucks officials said the decision was not made due to a lack of traffic at the sites, but declined further comment, reports said last week. Faced with stagnating sales, the coffee-shop giant has been undergoing a retrenchment during the past several months, reelecting company founder Howard Schultz as chief executive officer, closing all of its shops for several hours in late February to retrain staff and, most recently, announcing the launch of a less expensive, lighter-tasting blend called “Pikes Place Roast.”
SOBEYS APPROVED FOR TRAINING PROGRAM
STELLARTON, Nova Scotia — Sobeys here has been named the first corporate partner of Nova Scotia's Chartered Accountant Training Office, in an agreement officials said will attract top financial talent to the retailer. According to the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nova Scotia, Halifax, young financial professionals working at Sobeys can achieve Chartered Accountant designation, which was previously available only through experience with accounting firms or government financial offices. Training at Sobeys will begin in July, Sobeys said.
S&P RAISES CORPORATE DEBT RATING FOR SAFEWAY
NEW YORK — Citing improved credit metrics, lower debt and positive sales momentum, Standard & Poor's here last week raised its corporate ratings for Safeway, Pleasanton, Calif. S&P raised Safeway's corporate credit and senior unsecured ratings from “BBB-“ to “BBB,” and the short-term rating from “A-3” to “A-2” The outlook is stable.
CANADA SAFEWAY WORKERS VOTE TO OK STRIKE
BURNABY, British Columbia — Union workers at grocery stores in Western Canada last week held strike votes as contract negotiations with employers continued, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1518 here said. Votes were scheduled last week to authorize union leadership to call strikes at Safeway Canada, as well as at PriceSmart and Save-On-Foods stores operated by Overwaitea. Although the union voted overwhelmingly in favor of calling a strike at Safeway, UFCW officials said “strike action is not imminent” and that negotiations with Safeway are set to resume on May 1, 2, 5 and 6. Results of the strike vote at Save-On-Foods and PriceSmart were not available late last week.
BASHAS' TO CONSUMERS: IT'S ‘BEST PLACE TO WORK’
CHANDLER, Ariz. — Bashas' here said it is posting in-store signs this month to let consumers know it was named one of Arizona's “best places to work” by the Phoenix Business Journal and BestCompanies AZ earlier this year. It was the second year Bashas' made the 100-company list, which is based solely on results from surveys that solicit employee opinions on a company's work environment; opportunities for personal growth and development; people practices; and willingness to embrace innovation and new ideas. A company spokesman told SN it decided to post the signs after observing employee reactions to the announcement of the achievement during first-quarter employee meetings. The signs read, “We are proud to be one of Arizona's ‘best places to work’ as voted by our employees in the Business Journal.” A chain spokeswoman told SN the decision to post the signs had nothing to do with Bashas' long-running dispute with the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, which recently filed a series of complaints with the National Labor Relations Board alleging illegal conduct by Bashas' toward some employees.