REAL ESTATE

BI-LO and Bruno’s Cut Back Stores

BY CSA STAFF

New York City, Weighed down by pressure from Wal-Mart Stores and Publix Super Markets, Bruno’s Supermarkets plans to close 20 stores in March. Of the 20 stores on the list for closure, 13 are in Alabama, four are in Georgia, two are in Florida and one is in Mississippi. The company said the cutbacks allow the chain to weed out underperforming stores and improve its focus on more profitable markets. Demographic shifts and traffic patterns also factored into the decision.

BI-LO, which operates 282 supermarkets in the Carolinas, Georgia and Tennessee, on Tuesday announced plans to close nine of its locations.

The two chains were purchased by Lone Star Funds, a Dallas-based private investor, in a $660 million deal late last year. The two grocery chains, which combined have more than 400 stores in the Southeast, plan to merge their operations as BI-LO Holdings LLC, and relocate Bruno’s corporate offices to Mauldin, S.C.

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FINANCE

PriceSmart Closes Chapter on Restatement

BY CSA STAFF

San Diego, PriceSmart has put an end to litigation related to its restatement of financial reports in late 2003. PriceSmart will pay $2.35 million to settle a shareholder lawsuit in federal court in California. The San Diego-based retailer said that about 80% of the settlement payment will be funded by the company’s insurance carrier. The retailer said the settlement does not constitute an “admission of liability” on the part of the company or its former officers. PriceSmart, a warehouse club operator, previously settled a separate federal court securities lawsuit and a state court shareholder derivative lawsuit. The company said the third settlement brings the litigation to a conclusion.

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News

Ann Taylor Promotes Two Execs

BY CSA STAFF

New York City, Ann Taylor Stores Corp. promoted two of its executives to executive VP.

Adrienne Lazarus was named executive VP of Ann Taylor Stores merchandising and design. She was most recently senior VP and general merchandising manager for Ann Taylor Stores.

Donna Noce was promoted to executive VP of Ann Taylor Loft merchandising and design. She most recently served the retailer as senior VP of Ann Taylor Factory Stores.

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