KROGER URGES REJECTION OF OFFER
CINCINNATI — Kroger Co. last week urged its investors to reject a “mini-tender” offer from a Canadian investment company. In a statement, Kroger said it had been notified of an unsolicited offer by TRC Capital to purchase up to 3 million shares of Kroger stock directly from shareholders at a price of $24 per share — or 3.5% below the price Kroger was trading at when the offer was made. Such “mini-tender” offers differ from traditional tender offers in that they involve less than 5% of a company's outstanding shares and thereby skirt regulatory and disclosure protections for investors, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Kroger said investors should “exercise caution” with respect to TRC's offer.
SCHNUCKS UNVEILS CULINARIA CONCEPT
ST. LOUIS — Schnuck Markets broke ground on a new downtown store here that will be named Culinaria — A Schnucks Market and will open this summer, officials told SN last week. Schnucks spokeswoman Lori Willis said the name Culinaria reflects that along with the essential grocery and pharmacy items, the store will offer a variety of culinary education services. The name will also go on a variety of premium food items that will be ready to launch when the store opens this summer. The store — which will be 21,000 square feet on a lower level and 6,300 square feet on its upper level, will have a heavy emphasis on prepared foods, including hot food bars and other grab-and-go offerings.
LOCAL 400 INKS NEW DEAL WITH KROGER
ROANOKE, Va. — Around 4,500 workers at 43 Kroger stores in the retailer's Mid-Atlantic region last week voted to ratify a new contract. The workers, represented by United Food and Commercial Workers Local 400, are employed in stores in central and southwest Virginia, northeast Tennessee and southeast West Virginia, said Kroger, Cincinnati. The new contract, which the company in a statement said “maintains quality jobs and affordable health care for our associates and their families and keeps Kroger competitive,” will replace an existing deal that was set to expire in March.
TWO ‘TRADERS’ SETTLE TRADEMARK SUIT
NEW YORK — The controversial new grocery store in Manhattan briefly known as Trader John's will be rechristened Grocer John's, according to terms of a settlement reached between its owner, Gristedes Foods, and Trader Joe's, the nearby specialty store that sued it for trademark infringement. John Catsimatidis, chairman of Gristedes parent Red Apple Group, told SN last week that the store — which had the word “Trader” covered at its entrance as the result of a temporary restraining order — would change the name to Grocer John's within a few weeks. “Our lawyers think we could have won, that the word ‘Trader’ is no different that ‘Mart’ or ‘Supermarket,’” Catsimatidis said. “But who wants to make a federal case out of it?”
WAL-MART COMPLETES D&S ACQUISITION
BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Wal-Mart Stores here on Friday said it has completed a tender offer for 58.2% of the outstanding shares of Distribucion y Servicio (D&S), the largest food retailer in Chile. The acquisition gives Wal-Mart control of more than 180 stores, 10 shopping centers and 85 financial services branches, Wal-Mart said. D&S' existing owners will retain 40.1% of the company, with 1.7% held by the public.