OPERATIONS

A&P seeks more time to submit reorganization plan

BY Staff Writer

New York City — The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company (A&P) has asked U.S. Bankruptcy Court in White Plains, N.Y., for a second extension of its deadline to submit an exclusive plan of reorganization to its creditors.

The supermarket operator is looking for an extension to Jan. 16, 2012, from a previous deadline of Dec. 31, 2011. In court papers, it said the extension would provide it with "the very best opportunity for a successful exit from Chapter 11."

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STORE SPACES

Fresh & Easy adds natural gas vehicles to its fleet

BY Marianne Wilson

El Segundo, Calif. — Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market has added 25 compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles to its distribution fleet as part of a partnership with Ryder System. The new vehicles produce 20% to 30% less emissions than comparable diesel vehicles and are part of the company’s ongoing efforts to reduce emissions.

“By incorporating natural gas vehicles into our fleet, we are helping to reduce emissions even further,” said Fresh & Easy CEO Tim Mason. “When we can also reduce our operating costs through more efficient transportation technologies like natural gas and pass those savings on to our customers.”

Fresh & Easy already has introduced trailers that include a hybrid refrigeration vector unit which minimizes the amount of fuel used to safely cool and transport store products. The trailers also include an automatic refrigeration shut-off when optimum temperature is reached inside the cooling chamber, as well as a complete engine shut-off once parked at the stores.

In addition, at the distribution center, Fresh & Easy has utilized plug-in electrical stand-by technology so no fuel is used to run refrigeration units on parked trailers.

The CNG vehicles were made available through a $38.7 million Ryder/ San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG) project that is part of a joint public/private partnership between the U.S. Department of Energy, the California Energy Commission, the Southern California Association of Governments Clean Cities Coalition, and Ryder.

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News

Fred’s Q2 sales up slightly; consumers buying mostly staples

BY CSA STAFF

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Fred’s on Thursday reported sales of $452.7 million, up 1% compared with the year-ago period, for the second quarter ended July 30. On a comparable-store basis, second-quarter sales decreased 0.4% versus an increase of 2.5% in the same period last year.

"July’s sales performance was consistent with the first two months of the quarter as external economic factors, including high unemployment and reductions in government aid, continued to have a negative impact throughout the Southeast," stated Bruce Efird, Fred’s CEO.

"Even though several of our Core 5 focus areas performed well, including pet and household supplies, the overall pressures of the economy continued to drive sales toward basic and consumable products," Efird added. "In spite of lower-than-expected sales and inflation-driven margin pressure, we now expect net income per diluted share for the second quarter to be flat compared with the same period last year."

During the month, Fred’s opened one new store and pharmacy. Through the first half of the year, the company has opened four new stores and pharmacies, closed seven stores and pharmacies, and upgraded 114 stores as part of the Core 5 Program.

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