TOPS TRANSITIONS TO LOCAL CONTROL
WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. — Tops Friendly Markets here said last week that it has completed its 16-month transition to local control. The chain, which was purchased by Morgan Stanley Private Equity from Ahold in December 2007, had been managing functions including marketing, merchandising and information technology through a shared-services arrangement with Ahold since the sale. “We cannot stress enough the importance of being locally operated,” Frank Curci, chief executive officer of Tops, said in a statement.
FOOD CITY CEO: WE'RE NOT FOR SALE
ABINGDON, Va. — The president and chief executive officer of K-VA-T Food Stores here told a local newspaper that the Food City chain “is not for sale and probably won't be in my lifetime.” Steve Smith was responding to a Knoxville News Sentinel inquiry of Internet rumors that the chain had been acquired by Publix Super Markets, Lakeland, Fla. Smith said “there was absolutely no truth” to the speculation, which was published on an Internet message board.
TWO EL PASO HISPANIC CHAINS MERGE
EL PASO, Texas — The Pina family, operators of three Vista Markets here, has acquired Quality Food Mart, a five-store group also based here, and plans to operate them under the name Vista Quality Markets, according to local reports. The Quality Food Mart stores have been operated by Rudy Rosales since the death of founder Cecilio Medina in 2005. Published reports said the acquired stores will be remodeled to emulate the three Vista stores, which include tortillerias, bakeries, meat markets, Mexican delicatessens and other amenities.
AHOLD SUES OVER ‘REAL DEAL,’ AGAIN
BOSTON — For the second time in a year, Ahold filed suit in U.S. District Court to stop another company from using the phrase “Real Deal” — a promotional phrase Ahold's sister chains Stop & Shop and Giant of Landover have been using since mid-2008. The latest filing involves Big Lots, the Columbus, Ohio-based discounter that reportedly has been using the phrase since April in TV ads, circulars, store signs and on its website. Last summer, Stop & Shop and Giant filed suit against Whole Foods Market, Austin, Texas, for using the “Real Deal” phrase and ultimately reached an out-of-court settlement. Neither Ahold nor Big Lots could be reached for comment.
AHOLD EXECUTIVE SEEKS NEW TRIAL
NEW YORK — A former Ahold executive who was sent to prison for his role in the 2003 accounting scandal that forced a breakup of the company is seeking a new trial, according to reports. A federal judge in 2007 sentenced Mark Kaiser, a former executive at Ahold's U.S. Foodservice division, to seven years in prison for his role as “organizer and leader” of a scheme that led Ahold to overstate its profits by $800 million. Kaiser was convicted of fraud in the case, in which he was found to have directed the creation of fake invoices to artificially inflate vendor rebates. In seeking a new trial, Kaiser claims prosecutors withheld evidence that would have contradicted elements of the case against him, the reports said.
SAVE-A-LOT MARKETS NEW CLUB
ST. LOUIS — Save-A-Lot here is hoping to capture more shoppers electronically through a new digital marketing program. Shoppers that sign up for the discounter's Smart Shoppers Club at Save-A-Lot.com will receive a $5 “instant coupon” good for a purchase of $20 or more at participating Save-A-Lot stores.