AHOLD POSTS U.S. SALES GAINS
AMSTERDAM — Comparable-store sales at Ahold's three U.S. banners rose in the first quarter, led by a 4% gain at Giant of Landover, Md., despite a decrease in pharmacy sales, the company last week. Stop & Shop posted a gain of 3.6% for the period, which ended April 19, and Giant of Carlisle, Pa., posted comp-store gains of 1.8%. Net sales at Stop & Shop and Giant-Landover combined were up 3.6%, to $5.3 billion. Sales at Giant-Carlisle rose 3.4%, to $1.5 billion. Ahold said its total sales for the period were about $11.6 billion (U.S.), an increase of 15.2%. The increase was 6.2% at constant exchange rates. The company is scheduled to release first-quarter earnings on May 28.
N.Y. SETS SUPERMARKET INCENTIVES
NEW YORK — City and state officials are expected to announce a program here this week that would facilitate development of supermarkets in underserved neighborhoods, sources told SN. The program is expected to include special zoning changes in New York City that will allow for supermarket development in certain manufacturing zones, assist with development aspects such as parking, and offer incentives for builders to include food stores as part of their projects. The state concurrently is expected to announce a $10 million program to create a food trust that would resemble Pennsylvania's Fresh Food Financing Initiative program.
PUBLIX Q1 EARNINGS, COMPS FALL
LAKELAND, Fla. — A tough economy contributed to declines in comparable-store sales and earnings during the fiscal first quarter for Publix Super Markets, the retailer here said. Overall quarterly sales of $6.4 billion increased 2.2% from the same period last year, but comps decreased by 2.8%. Net earnings of $321.5 million were down 6.4%. Publix stock, which is available only to employees and directors, was decreased to $15.55 per share from $16.
BI-LO SEEKS EXTENSION FOR LEASES
GREENVILLE, S.C. — Bi-Lo has asked a judge in U.S. Bankruptcy Court here to extend by 90 days the deadline by which the retailer must assume or reject lease agreements for its stores. The extension would give Bi-Lo until Oct. 19 — or sooner if a plan of reorganization is assumed — to tell its landlords of its plans for its stores. Bi-Lo, which filed for Chapter 11 protection in March, has already rejected a number of leases for stores no longer operating, and recently agreed to a cost-sharing agreement with Ahold, Bi-Lo's former owner and a guarantor on the majority of its leases. The Ahold agreement requires Bi-Lo to give notice to Ahold of any planned lease rejections and gives Ahold the option to take over those leases and market them for sale.
Q2 COMPS FLAT AT HARRIS TEETER
MATTHEWS, N.C. — Quarterly net income at the parent company of Harris Teeter declined by 4.7% as promotional prices cut into profits and comparable-store sales were flat, the company here said. Net earnings of $22.9 million for the 13-week period ending March 29 also reflected sales declines and a $4.6 million operating loss at American & Efird, a textile division of Ruddick Corp. Sales at Harris Teeter increased by 6.3% to $949.4 million in the quarter, primarily attributable to new stores. Operating profit at Harris Teeter declined 3% to $45 million as the company said it invested additional promotional spending.