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South Africa’s Massmart approves Wal-Mart bid

BY CSA STAFF

New York City — The shareholders of South African Massmart chain have overwhelmingly accepted Wal-Mart’s offer to buy 51% of their company, the chief executive said Monday, paving the way for Wal-Mart to enter Africa.

Massmart said the proposal was approved by 97% of shareholders who voted Monday — 75% approval had been needed. Wal-Mart offered 148 rand (about $20) per share in a 17 billion rand (about $2 billion) deal.

The deal will have to be approved by South Africa’s anti-monopoly regulators.

Massmart CEO Pattison said once the deal goes through, Massmart will continue to operate the stores and continue to be listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, while Wal-Mart will be the main owner. Massmart runs about 290 big-box, pharmacy, electronics and other stores in 14 African countries.

"They are a great retailer and we really are looking forward to learning something from them, and teaching them something about Africa," Pattison told The Associated Press. "We’re excited because they’re coming as our partners."

The deal has run into trouble with South African labor groups, who contend that Wal-Mart is anti-union. Wal-Mart has said it would respect contracts and is committed to working with South African unions.

Pattison, the Massmart CEO, said he had assured unions no jobs would be lost and no contracts violated. And he said consumers would benefit.

"We would have failed if we don’t bring prices down," he said, in an Associated Press report.

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Albert Heijn, innovative Ahold leader, dies at 83

BY CSA STAFF

AMSTERDAM — Former Ahold senior executive Albert Heijn, who helped lead the overhaul of the Dutch-based supermarket giant in the 1960s and 1970s, died peacefully last week at his home in the United Kingdom, the company announced. He was 83.

Heijn was the grandson of Albert Heijn, who founded Ahold’s predecessor company, the Albert Heijn supermarket business, in 1887. Heijn joined the company in 1949 and rose quickly through the ranks to become president of the executive board in 1962. Together with his brother Gerrit-Jan, Heijn “led the transformation of the company from a Dutch supermarket chain into a major international food retailing group,” Ahold announced.

“He created a grocery empire on the deceptively simple premise that doing what is right for the business starts with doing what is right for the customer,” the company noted. “Following his retirement in 1989, he remained involved in Ahold, the holding company created in 1973, as a member of the supervisory board until 1997.”

Among his notable achievements, Heijn introduced the first full-service grocery stores in the Netherlands and “brought a much wider selection of products to the Dutch public than had been seen before,” Ahold noted. “Perhaps one of the most significant contributions he made to the global food retail industry was his role in the establishment of a uniform bar code that remains the global standard today,” the company said.

Ahold CEO John Rishton called Heijn “a remarkable man,” as well as “a spirited entrepreneur whose vision has helped shape the global food industry. He was a warm and charismatic leader who was passionate about people — both those who worked for the company and all who shopped at our stores. My thoughts, and those of my colleagues on the corporate executive board, are with his wife Monique and their family.”

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Family Dollar names SVP apparel, home and seasonal

BY CSA STAFF

MATTHEWS, N.C. — Family Dollar Stores announced that it has named Paul White to the position of SVP apparel, home and seasonal. White will report to Dorlisa Flur, EVP and chief merchandising officer.

"Creating an exciting offering of discretionary merchandise to complement our growing consumable assortment is the cornerstone to being a compelling place to shop for our customers," said Ms. Flur. "With Paul’s leadership, we will further improve merchandise selection and in-store presentation of these dynamic areas of our assortment, adding more of the fun of finding a unique treasure in apparel, home, and seasonal items for our customers to enjoy."

White is the past president, CEO, and director of Goody’s, where he refocused the merchandising and marketing strategies on the core customer while leading the company’s exit from bankruptcy. Other retail experience includes senior merchandising leadership roles at Shopko Stores and The May Department Stores Company.

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