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General Mills planning $100 million expansion of its Albuquerque facility

BY Melissa Valliant

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. Breakfast cereal manufacturer General Mills is dishing out $100 million toward the expansion of its Albuquerque plant, according to Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez in his state of the city address Tuesday. The 17-year-old facility, which currently employs about 190 workers, will have 160,000 square feet added, as well as an additional 60 employees. The plant will mainly manufacture snack products, and employees will make an average salary of $40,000.

The Albuquerque plant was chosen for expansion over six to eight other cities because of its low business costs and productive work force. GM needs to first acquire industrial revenue bonds from the city for the project before it can move forward with the expansion. The company anticipates hiring the new employees and beginning expansion near the end of 2009 or beginning of 2010.

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Supervalu boosting brand image with national campaign

BY Jenna Duncan

MINNEAPOLIS Supervalu’s leadership is preparing to take the company’s branding in a new direction, Supervalu chief executive officer Jeff Noddle said Tuesday in his keynote speech at the Morgan Stanley Global Consumer and Retail Conference.

The company is putting emphasis on its affordable grocery items and easy to find locations with a new tagline: “Just around the corner.” The new tag has been launched in a campaign including national ads, direct mailings and direct-to-consumer circulars. 

Supervalu has said that later this year more of the “just around the corner” buzz will be released via TV and radio ads and billboard.

The grocery giant has also said that it is dedicating more energy to speedy checkout and overall cleanliness and quality in each of its stores. There is also a push towards updating store technology. Noddle also said that his company is expanding its offerings to new communities with new store formats, such as the smaller, market-like Urban Fresh by Jewel store recently opened in the Chicago market.

Noddle also told the crowd at his keynote speech that Supervalu’s capital spending  for the next year will range between $1.2 and $1.3 billion range. Most of the monies will be directed toward store capital, he said, as well as rebuild and remodeling projects.  

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Ahold reports results for 3Q 2008

BY Jenna Duncan

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands Ahold, a company that owns and operates hundreds of supermarkets in the United States as well as Europe under Stop & Shop, Peapod, Giant-Landover grocery brand banners, has reported its earnings for the third quarter 2008.

Ahold reported earnings of 7.6 percent for the quarter. Ahold reported that its operating costs total 262 million euros ($327.9 million U.S. dollars), up 26 million (EU), or about 10 percent.

Ahold reported its net income totaled 195 million EU (U.S. $244 million.), which was down 19 million EU (U.S. $23.8 million), or about 10 percent.

“We delivered a solid performance in our third quarter. I was particularly pleased with the increase in identical sales at Stop & Shop and Giant-Landover as a result of the actions we have taken under the Value Improvement Program over the last two years,” Ahold chief executive officer John Rishton said. “The company has a healthy balance sheet and is well-positioned to offer value to our customers in the current economic environment. The price investments made in recent years have strengthened the competitive position of all our banners, but we remain vigilant and will respond to changes in consumer and competitor behavior. 

“Underlying retail operating margin guidance for the year remains unchanged at 4.8 percent- 5.3 percent.” 

The company also said that same store sales at Stop & Shop and Giant-Landover stores had improved. And that underlying retail operating margin guidance for the period remained the same.

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