JUDGE GRANTS EXTENSION FOR BI-LO
COLUMBIA, S.C. — A judge in the bankruptcy case of Bi-Lo here has given the retailer and its creditors until the end of this month to file exclusive plans to reorganize the company. The current period of “co-exclusivity” was to have expired last week but both parties requested an extension so as to file amendments to their current plans. The new deadline is Feb. 28. Separately last week, Bi-Lo introduced a program of eight-week “price lock” discounts for shoppers using its Bonuscard.
WINN-DIXIE OPENS NEW STORE
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Winn-Dixie Stores last week opened its first newly built store since 2004 — a 55,000-square-foot unit in Covington, La., that features an outdoor farmers' market, fresh sushi, a pharmacy and wellness center, a panini grill, a peanut butter machine, an olive cart and a 24-foot-tall entranceway. According to the company here, the Covington store is the first in Louisiana to receive the Environmental Protection Agency's GreenChill certification, based on its ability to reduce refrigerant emissions and decrease the impact on the ozone layer and climate change. The certification — given to supermarkets that reduce emissions by at least 65% — has been given to only 26 supermarkets in the U.S., Winn-Dixie said.
WAL-MART TO CUT 300 HQ JOBS
BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Wal-Mart Stores said last week it plans to eliminate approximately 300 positions, primarily in the corporate support area at its main offices here, in an effort to be more efficient. “If we ask our operations to be leaner and more customer-focused, we must ask the same of our support teams at the home office,” said Mike Duke, president and chief executive officer. He said he has asked the executives who report to him “to look for opportunities to eliminate duplication, reduce costs and shift work closer to the operating units.”
SUPERSTORE BACKS OFF BAG CHARGES
TORONTO — Citing concern for struggling consumers, Atlantic Superstore has suspended a policy of charging for plastic bags that it implemented last year, reports said. Superstore, owned by Loblaw Cos. here, last spring began charging customers 5 cents for each plastic bag, but the retailer suspended the program during the holiday season and has not reinstated it, according to a CBC News report last week.
COLORADO WORKERS TO VOTE AGAIN
DENVER — Union workers that rejected prior contract offers from employers Safeway and Kroger-owned King Soopers last week began voting again on a slightly modified offer. According to United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7 here, bargaining units of Safeway and King Soopers that rejected the prior offer began voting on a deal that provides an additional $12 million in the health and welfare fund for retirees. The 52-month contract offer otherwise includes the same terms as those already accepted by some units, including a signing bonus. Albertsons workers in Colorado last week voted to approve the same deal, Local 7 added.
SAVE MART OPENS NEW FLAGSHIP
MODESTO, Calif. — Save Mart Supermarkets last week unveiled a new flagship store here featuring several systems to reduce its carbon footprint. Those technologies include water-based refrigeration systems; heat-recovery systems, including skylights, reflective white roofing, variable-speed air handling systems and sensor-driven energy monitoring systems; and water conservation measures.