BODEGA LATINA TO BUY 7 GIGANTES
COMMERCE, Calif. — Bodega Latina Corp. here, operators of nine El Super supermarkets, said last week it will purchase the seven Southern California stores operated by Gigante USA. Financial terms were not disclosed. Bodega Latina said it will convert the stores to the El Super banner after the deal closes in late August. Mexico City-based Grupo Gigante, the parent company of Gigante USA, was sold earlier this year to Soriana, Monterrey, Mexico, which implied at the time it would operate them. However, Bodega Latina said the agreement to purchase Gigante USA was “facilitated by an agreement” between Grupo Gigante and Soriana. The Gigante USA stores are located in Arleta, Anaheim, Compton, Covina, Inglewood, Santa Fe Springs and Los Angeles. El Super operates eight ethnic-oriented supermarkets in Southern California and one in Phoenix. Latina Bodega will switch suppliers, moving to Unified Grocers, Los Angeles, from the California division of C&S Wholesale Grocers.
H-E-B LAUNCHES NEW PRICING PROGRAM
SAN ANTONIO — H.E. Butt Grocery Co. here has launched a new pricing program addressing “behavioral changes” in its shoppers driven by the shifting economy. The “Big Savings Start Here” initiative lowers thousands of prices, and increases the value of weekly promotions and helping customers make affordable choices when shopping, H-E-B said. The chain began the program at 43 Houston-area stores on May 21.
SUPERVALU SAID TO SETTLE LAWSUIT
MINNEAPOLIS — Supervalu here has agreed to pay $15 million to settle a class-action lawsuit by Albertsons employees who quit, retired or were fired between 1996 and 2004 — before Supervalu acquired the company — but did not receive their final paychecks, according to reports. The suit included employees at Albertsons, as well as Lucky Stores and Sav-on drug stores, both of which Albertsons purchased in 1998. Members of the class will get up to $350 each, depending on their final pay scale, with half the payment in cash and half in merchandise cards, pending approval later this year of the settlement by a Los Angeles judge. Supervalu executives could not be reached for comment.
DOLLAR TREE Q1 EARNINGS UP 14.4%
CHESAPEAKE, Va. — Cash-strapped consumers attracted by $1 merchandise helped Dollar Tree here post a quarterly net income improvement of 14.4%, the discounter said last week. Earnings of $43.6 million for the first quarter ended May 3 increased from $38.1 million in the same period a year ago, while gross margins as a percentage of sales increased to 33.9% from 33.4% last year. Earlier this month, Dollar Tree said sales increased 7.5% to $1.05 billion and comparable-store sales improved by 2.1%. “To succeed in this environment, we have to provide our customers with great value for their dollar,” Bob Sasser, president and chief executive officer, said in a conference call.
TALKS CONTINUE AT INDIANA KROGERS
INDIANAPOLIS — Union workers at Kroger stores in Indianapolis last week agreed to a contract extension as negotiations to replace its expiring contract are scheduled to continue this week, according to United Food and Commercial Workers Local 700 here. Union leaders said they were reviewing a health and welfare proposal by the Cincinnati-based retailer. Local 700 represents about 3,800 Kroger workers.