retail news in context, analysis with attitude

• Wegmans reportedly plans to open two new 150,000 square foot stores in 2009 – one in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and the other in Collegeville, Pennsylvania. Both openings are contingent on final site plan approvals, according to published reports.

• Shaw’s Supermarkets announced that it will close two Rhode Island stores, one in Providence and one in Pawtucket, on September 1, saying that the units were underperforming.

• Published reports say that the Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Co. (A&P) has closed 21 Farmer Jack locations in Michigan after it was unable to find buyers for the sites. Kroger bought 20 stores, and independents reportedly are buying 25 units.

• The New York Times reports this morning that Groupe Danone is acquiring Royal Numico, a baby food manufacturer based in The Netherlands, for the equivalent of $16.8 billion.

According to the Times, “Franck Riboud, Danone’s chairman and chief executive, said that ‘the price Groupe Danone is offering today is a reflection of the outstanding quality and positioning of Numico as one of the world’s leaders in healthy nutrition.’

“Food companies are expanding in the specialty nutrition market, where sales are growing faster than in the rest of the food industry. Danone makes the dairy drink Actimel, which is promoted as an immunity enhancer, and already owns the baby food brand Bledina, which is part of its dairy unit.”
KC's View: