SWEETBAY NAMES VAIL PRESIDENT
TAMPA, Fla. — Sweetbay Supermarket here has promoted Mike Vail to president and chief operating officer, filling the chain's top spot left vacant when Shelley Broader departed to join craft retailer Michaels Stores earlier this month. Vail most recently served as senior vice president of retail operations for Sweetbay and has more than 20 years of experience at Sweetbay and its predecessor Kash n' Karry, as well as at Hannaford — sister chains owned by Belgium's Delhaize Group. “This promotion recognizes Mike's vision for Sweetbay,” Ron Hodge, executive vice president at Delhaize, said in a statement. “His analytical ability, strong motivation and the creativity he brings to product and sales growth is outstanding and highly regarded throughout the industry.”
DRUG CHAINS SELL EXPIRED PRODUCT
NEW YORK — Drug chains Rite Aid and CVS said they will improve their efforts to keep their shelves free of expired goods after a state investigation revealed the chains sold expired products, including milk, eggs, medicines and baby formula. Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo said his office may file civil suit after investigators uncovered that 142 CVS and 112 Rite Aid stores had sold expired product.
KROGER SETTLES RACE-BIAS LAWSUIT
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Kroger Co. last week agreed to pay nearly $16 million to settle an employment discrimination suit against the company, according to filings with the U.S.. District Court here. The suit, filed in 2001, alleged that Kroger had discriminated against African American employees. Also, as part of the settlement, Kroger agreed to implement systems to monitor hiring salaries as they relate to the awarding of “experience credit” and to take other actions related to the establishment of criteria for management qualifications. According to reports, David Dillon, Kroger chairman and chief executive officer, issued a memo to employees stating, “We take our commitment to inclusion and our policies against discrimination very seriously. The plaintiffs … obviously felt strongly that the company was not treating them fairly.” Kroger could not be reached for further comment.
SAFEWAY BANS SMOKING AT OFFICES
PLEASANTON, Calif. — Safeway will ban smoking at its headquarters here July 1 and will make regional offices in the U.S. and Canada smoke-free and tobacco-free by Sept. 1, the company said last week. The retailer also said it will offer a free 12-week smoking cessation program for employees affected by the new policies. Safeway made the announcements during a summit hosted by the Commonwealth Club of California addressing smoking addiction in California. Also at the summit, the California Public Employees Retirement System said it will pressure health plan providers to increase their coverage of cessation programs by 20% next year.
WAL-MART CUTS CAP-EX PROJECTIONS
BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Wal-Mart Stores here last week said it will reduce its capital-expenditure forecast for the current fiscal year to a range of $13 billion to $14 billion, down from the $13.5 billion to $15.2 billion that the retailer projected last October. The reduction is a result of the slowdown in store expansion in the U.S., and it is boosting the company's free cash flow, Thomas Schoewe, Wal-Mart's executive vice president and chief financial officer, said at the William Blair & Co. Annual Growth Stock Conference in Chicago.