FINANCE

Ahold requests U.S. to deny Bi-Lo financing

BY CSA STAFF

The Netherlands Ahold said Tuesday it has filed papers with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of South Carolina, to deny bankrupt supermarket retailer Bi-Lo a proposed $100 million financing package.

Bi-Lo, which initially filed for bankruptcy on March 24, said it has received a commitment for a $100 million debtor-in-possession facility arranged by GE Capital Financing, which it will use to meet normal business obligations upon court approval.

Bi-Lo has also asked for court permission to continue paying employee wages, benefits and salaries without interruption and says it will continue existing customer policies and programs, as well as normal business relationships with suppliers and partners.

According to Supermarket News, Ahold, which sold Bi-Lo to Lone Star Holdings in 2005 and remains a Bi-Lo landlord, said the proposed financing package would unfairly put lenders ahead of landlords with regard to collecting on pre-petition debts. Ahold has proposed its own $35 million loan to Bi-Lo in place of the GE Capital financing.

Bi-Lo operates 215 supermarkets in South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee. Ahold, which operates U.S. grocery chains Stop & Shop, Giant-Landover and Giant-Carlisle, currently does not operate any stores in these states.

The U.S. Bankruptcy Court is expected to rule on the proposed GE Capital financing deal on April 3. Bi-Lo has also requested the court approve an emergency $21 million payment to C&S Wholesale Grocers, its largest supplier, with funds coming from the financing package.

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If the shoe fits

BY CSA STAFF

Target has teamed up with designer Trish Carroll to launch a limited-edition footwear collection called Miss Trish of Capri that will be available in stores for four months, beginning April 5.

“The Miss Trish of Capri collection brings classic chic to any warm weather ensemble,” said Target SVP Trish Adams. “Now women across the country can add these easy-to-wear, glamorous styles to their wardrobe without the wallet sting.”

Prices range from $29.99 to $34.99 on footwear styles that include vibrant color sandals and wedges with jewel embellishments. Miss Trish is going to need great design and attractive prices to persuade women to make what is essentially a discretionary purchase, but credit Target with providing them the opportunity to do so.

Target’s partnership with Trish Carroll shwos that just because consumers are in a funk and reluctant to spend money on anything other than food and consumables doesn’t mean retailers can afford to stop appealing to their discretionary tendencies.

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Lowe’s CEO earns $7.9 million

BY CSA STAFF

Robert Niblock, the CEO of Lowe’s home improvement stores, received a total compensation package of $7.9 million in 2008, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The company paid Niblock $1.1 million in salary, with the remainder coming from stock and option awards, a non-equity incentive plan and other types of compensation.

Niblock received nearly $6.15 million in total compensation in 2007.

The Mooresville, N.C.-based company will hold its annual meeting on Friday, May 29, in Charlotte, N.C.

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