FINANCE

NRF Urges Senate to Reject Minimum-Wage Increase Amendment

BY CSA STAFF

Washington, The National Retail Federation (NRF) today encouraged the Senate to reject an amendment that would raise the federal hourly minimum wage to $7.25 in three steps over 26 months. It would be an increase of $2.10, or 41%, over the current $5.15 minimum. The amendment, which the Senate will vote on today, would add a minimum wage increase to S 256, the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005.

Steve Pfister, NRF senior VP for Government Relations, said, “Not only would the increase proposed by Senator Kennedy represent an unprecedented and extreme hike in the entry-level wage, it also would serve as a poison bill to the bankruptcy bill, which has been a long-standing priority of the retail industry.”

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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

Wal-Mart Contributes to College Fund

BY CSA STAFF

Bentonville, Ark., Wal-Mart Stores provided an award of $1.5 million to the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) that includes a $1 million grant to establish the Wal-Mart Emergency Assistance Fund and $500,000 in operating support for UNCF member schools.

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