SHAW'S MULLS OUTSOURCING AT DC
METHUEN, Mass. — The strike by warehouse workers at Shaw's distribution center here reached the two-month point last week after the retailer and union officials met with a federal mediator but came no closer to an agreement. According to United Food and Commercial Workers Local 791, which represents the workers, Shaw's withdrew previous contract offers and presented a new package with “drastic wage cuts” and conditioned upon replacement workers it is hiring staying at the facility, among other things. The union also said Shaw's “stated their intention” of outsourcing meat and deli work from the facility to C&S Wholesale Grocers. The UFCW said it had filed an unfair labor charge with the National Labor Relations Board alleging Shaw's has bargained in bad faith.
PLANET ORGANIC SEEKS PROTECTION
EDMONTON, Alberta — Planet Organic Health Corp., which operates a chain of natural and organic stores here, has sought protection from creditors under Canada's Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA). The company said an Ontario court has provided the company with protection for an initial period of 30 days expiring May 27. Planet Organic sought protection stemming from a $31.1 million (U.S.) debt to its principal lender, Catalyst Capital Group. The company said the event would not affect its 11 stores doing business under the Mrs. Green's name in the U.S. Northwest.
EXPANSION DRAINS INGLES Q2 PROFIT
ASHEVILLE, N.C. — Expenses associated with 22 new or redeveloped stores in fiscal 2008 and 2009 — which have been slower to ramp up as a result of the economy — contributed to a 28% decline in net income for Ingles Markets during the second quarter that ended March 27, the company said. Sales of $837 million increased by 6.1% and comparable-store sales, excluding gasoline, improved by 1.1%. Ingles said it had slowed its estimated capital expenditures for fiscal 2010 to around $120 million, down from earlier projections of $150 million and from nearly $200 million it spent in each of the previous two fiscal years.
WAL-MART TO PAY $27M IN WASTE CASE
BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Wal-Mart Stores last week said it would pay $27 million as part of a settlement with environmental groups in California, which sued the retailer for improperly disposing of hazardous materials ranging from fertilizer to nail polish. Wal-Mart in a statement said the incidents, stemming from materials that were returned to the store and then disposed of by store employees in the trash in violation of California business codes, happened four years ago, and that since then the company has worked with state officials on a policy affecting all of its stores. Wal-Mart said it expects to pay $21 million in civil penalties and investigative costs as part of the settlement and that it would fund $6 million in supplemental environmental projects.
PUBLIX POSTS Q1 SALES, EARNINGS GAINS
LAKELAND, Fla. — Publix Super Markets last week posted increases in sales and net earnings for its fiscal first quarter, rebounding from a difficult period in 2009. Sales of $6.5 billion increased by 2.1%, with comparable-store sales up by 0.9%. Net earnings of $364.4 million increased by 13.3%, after a 6.3% decline in the first quarter last year. Publix's stock price increased from $17.35 per share to $18.50 per share.