retail news in context, analysis with attitude

…with brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

• Ahold Delhaize-owned Giant Food Stores of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, announced yesterday that it has entered into an agreement with UNFI-owned Supervalu to acquire five corporately-owned Shop ‘n Save stores, in Smithsburg, Md., Greencastle, Pa., Berryville, Va., Hedgesville, W.Va., and Martinsburg, W.Va.

The stores will be converted to Martin’s Food Markets. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

• Albertsons said yesterday that as part of its sustainability initiatives “it is purchasing 10 all-electric Tesla tractors for its Southern California fleet. The vehicles are part of the company’s ongoing efforts to decrease carbon emissions and run a cleaner transportation program.”

CEO Jim Donald explained it this way: “Our employee promise is to Make Every Day a Better Day. That means being a good community partner and a committed steward of the environment. We take that obligation seriously because our company is growing and innovating at lightning speed. And when we move forward, we leave a trail behind.”

USA Today reports that a committee representing Sears’ unsecured creditors has gone to court and accused the company’s chairman and primary investor, hedge fund mogul Eddie Lampert, “of potentially structuring deals to gain an unfair edge as the company declined.”

Sears filed for bankruptcy protection last month, and has said that it plans to close unprofitable stores and operate a much smaller chain.

The accusation is that Lampert “‘may have exercised undue influence to siphon value away from the Company on favorable terms,’ the creditors group said in a court filing. The group also said Lampert may have leveraged his ‘insider status to obtain an ever-increasing percentage’ of Sears debt, allowing him to ‘obtain beneficial positions’ in the retailer's Chapter 11 bankruptcy.”

Based on everything I’ve read about Lampert and his disastrous ownership of Sears, I would have been surprised if he hadn’t done these things. I don’t approve, but this seems typical of people of his ilk.

USA Today reports that Conagra has voluntarily recalled about 2.4 million boxes of Duncan Hines cake mix, including Classic White and three other varieties (Classic Butter Golden, Signature Confetti and Classic Yellow). The move follows the discovery by the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of salmonella in a sample of Duncan Hines Classic White cake mix.
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