retail news in context, analysis with attitude

There were mixed signals yesterday at Market Basket, as the company told most of its part-time workers that the tumult affecting the company would result in most them being laid off until operations return to normal.

However, shortly thereafter - especially after Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley established a hotline for employees to call if they feel they are bring treated unfairly or illegally - the company issued a clarifying statement, saying that "store directors were not instructed to lay off associates, but to adjust hours to meet current demand. It is our hope that we will be back to normal business levels in the not too distant future and all associates will be back to a full schedule.”

Meanwhile, the Boston Globe is reporting that Delhaize - parent company to Hannaford Bros., a Market Basket competitor - is the company that has bid to acquire the the 50.5 percent that is owned by Arthur S. Demoulas and his siblings. The 49.5 percent owned by cousin Arthur T. Demoulas apparently is not for sale.

As previously reported … The longtime family feud boiled over with the move by Arthur S. Demoulas, to oust CEO Arthur T. Demoulas due to a conflict over the company’s finances. The fight is characterized differently by the two sides. The Arthur S. Demoulas faction argues that Arthur T. Demoulas spends money irresponsibly and refuses to take direction from the board. The Arthur T. Demoulas side maintains that his cousin is fueled by greed, only interested in raising prices, cutting employee compensation, and threatening the formula that has built the company to a New England success story. The family feud has been exacerbated by mass protests organized by employees and store boycotts organized by customers, as well as a systematic slowdown in deliveries by warehouse employees that has left many units virtually empty of product.

Delhaize has not commented on the Globe report.
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