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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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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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Winn-Dixie sells reloadable prepaid cards

BY Jenna Duncan

TAMPA, Fla. Winn-Dixie has announced that working with the prepaid card company nFinanSe, the Winn-Dixie nFinanse Network reloadable prepaid card now is available in all Winn-Dixie grocery stores.

A reloadable card may be purchased for $5.95. Customers can then add more money to the card account at their choosing without the requirement of a credit check or bank account. Customer service is available free of charge, however, there is a $2.95 monthly maintenance fee due for card holders.

“We are very pleased to offer this dynamic new financial product to our customers,” Winn-Dixie’s director of communications, Robin Miller, said. “The nFinanSe Discover Network program provides shoppers with value and convenience by allowing them to reload their cards every time they visit their neighborhood Winn-Dixie, and to use them wherever Discover Network is accepted. This is just one more way for us to continue earning trust and loyalty in the communities we serve.”

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