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Supermarket Industry Soaring

BY CSA STAFF

Chicago, According to a state-of-the-industry report released Monday by the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), the supermarket industry increased sales overall by 5.3% in 2006, and upped same-store sales 4.0%.

Although the national chains reported a banner year in terms of sales and profit growth in 2006, other retailers didn’t fare as well. According to the report, nearly 25% of food retailers saw same-store sales decreases.

Issues raising concerns among all groups include, according to FMI, healthcare costs, competition from other retailers, credit-/debit-card interchange costs, energy costs, staffing, hiring and retention, technology investments and food-safety scares.

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BY CSA STAFF

CARTERET, N.J. Pathmark Stores fiscal 2006 sales were $4.1 billion versus $4 billion in fiscal 2005. Same-store sales for the year increased by 0.4%. The company reported a net loss of $18.3 million, or 35 cents per diluted share, in fiscal 2006, versus a net loss of $40.1 million, or 92 cents per diluted share, in fiscal 2005. —

, WEST BRIDGEWATER, MASS. Shaw’s Supermarkets, a natural food leader, is now offering organic pet food at all of its New England stores. The stores will carry a full line of Newman’s Own organic pet food products, which are free of poultry byproducts, chemical fertilizers, antibiotics, chemical additives, wheat, corn or artificial flavors colors or dyes, according to the supermarket, a division of Supervalu.

, CARLISLE, PA. Giant Food Stores and Martin’s Food Markets have launched an initiative that will make an associate in each store community champion. The associate will serves as a liaison between customers, the store and parent Giant’s corporate community relations department, developing and executing local programs, promoting the store within the community and working with the store manager on requests for local donations.

, ROCHESTER, N.Y. Wegmans won the top prize in the supermarket category at the first annual Food Network Awards. Other nominees in the category included Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s.

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Could ceo departure spell Ahold sale?

BY CSA STAFF

NEWYORK —Could the departure of Ahold’s ceo signal a bidding war for the company’s supermarket chains in the United States? Just possibly, according to JP Morgan analysts.

In a conference call discussing the potential impact of emerging food retailers on the U.S. supermarket industry, participants discussed the news that Ahold president and ceo Anders Moberg was leaving. Analysts Jaime Vazquez and Stephen Chick noted that talks with Delhaize over a sale of Ahold’s U.S. supermarkets, abandoned last year, might resume with Moberg gone.

Critically, new discussions could bring interest from Kroger and Safeway. All three could benefit from a purchase of Ahold U.S.’s supermarkets as it would expand their holdings into areas of the Northeast where Delhaize and Safeway have adjacent holdings and Kroger is largely absent.

Chick noted that recent discussions between Kroger and Goldman Sachs could be about financing a major acquisition, such as Ahold U.S.

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