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Security Breach Spurs Hannaford to Spend Millions

BY CSA STAFF

Scarborough, Maine Supermarket chain Hannaford Bros. Co. announced late Tuesday it will invest millions of dollars to upgrade its security network after a massive breach that exposed up to 4.2 million credit- and debit-card numbers to fraud.

From Dec. 7 to March 10, 2008, customer accounts in the Northeast and Florida were compromised during the card-approval process.

Hannaford officials said Tuesday that the just-announced new measures will include encryption of all card numbers during the entire time they are within the supermarket’s data network. Hannaford also said it has installed a “24/7 managed security monitoring and detection service” from IBM to detect intrusions.

Hannaford president and CEO Ron Hodge apologized Tuesday to customers for concerns and inconvenience they experienced because of the breach. He reported that there has been no drop in sales since the breach was revealed five weeks ago.

The Hannaford case is among the largest security breaches on record, although still much smaller than the tens of millions of credit cards that were exposed at TJX Cos. of Framingham, Mass.

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BJ’s touts low-cost healthy offerings

BY CSA STAFF

NATICK, Mass. BJ’s Wholesale Club is promoting itself as the smart solution for price-and-health-conscious consumers. The company is touting its savings on organic and natural food selections such as a six pack of Stonyfield Farms 10 oz. Organic Smoothies which costs $6.99 at BJ’s, versus $10.14 at the supermarket.

“We believe our organic foods and natural meat and poultry provide the exceptional quality our members have come to expect at a price they can afford,” said Laura Sen, president and coo of BJ’s Wholesale Club. “These two categories are growing exponentially and are on a pace that is outgrowing other product categories.”

Sen reiterated the organic and natural food selection at BJ’s is undergoing continuous expansion. “With the popularity of items like 100-calorie packs and flavored waters, consumers continue to show that products related to health and fitness are extremely important to them,” said Sen. “We take pride in being able to provide our members with additional organic and natural food selections on a regular basis.”

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Report: Blockbuster weighing options for Circuit City

BY CSA STAFF

NEW YORK Blockbuster is studying various options to fund its buyout offer of Circuit City, such as using Circuit City’s own balance sheet, even as the electronics retailer is asking Blockbuster to prove it can handle an all-cash bid, the Wall Street Journal reported on April 21.

Blockbuster is also considering using its existing debt facility, possible asset sales and cost savings for the deal, the report said.

Last week, Blockbuster offered up to $1.3 billion to buy Circuit City but the offer has drawn doubts from Wall Street, investors and Circuit City itself over how Blockbuster will fund the bid.

While investors fear that Blockbuster may need to raise new debt or renegotiate its current debt to finance the offer, Blockbuster is hopeful that it has alternative funds to sidestep that possibility, the report said.

Still, Blockbuster will not go ahead with the offer if it does not like what it sees in Circuit City’s financial books, the report said in a separate report, citing an interview with Blockbuster ceo Jim Keyes.

Circuit City has not allowed Blockbuster to see its books.

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