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  • A&P-owned Farmer Jack has opened a new store in Waterford Township, Michigan, the first new store the company has opened in 10 months.

    The opening comes after a series of store closings, layoffs, and the conversion of a number of stores to the Food Basics value format.

    "Cost cutting is always, every day part of the retail business. That will never change," Mike Carter, president of Farmer Jack, told the Detroit Free Press. "Are we looking at other drastic steps for cost cutting? No. But we are always looking for ways to cut costs. We're looking at growing sales and adding jobs."

  • First Data Corp., the credit card transaction processor, said a computer hardware glitch caused more than 800,000 Wal-Mart customers to have their MasterCard and Visa credit card charges posted in triplicate on April 1.

    The excess Visa and MasterCard charges occurred Wednesday, were posted on Thursday, and were reversed on Friday, according to First Data.

    Wal-Mart reportedly has posted signs in its stores advising customers to check their billing statements.

  • Retail Week in the UK reports that Somerfield there plans to dramatically increase its presence in the convenience segment of the business, with 600 c-stores by 2008. According to company management, the goal is to create units that are like scaled-down supermarkets, with a heavy food-to-go emphasis.

    The growth is expected to come through new store openings and acquisitions, as well as through franchising.

  • UK retailer Marks & Spencer announced that it is considering efficiency moves in headquarters and financial services operations that could result in the elimination of as many as 1,000 jobs.

    Just the first round of 500 jobs cuts could save the company the equivalent of $45 million (US), according to reports, which the company could use to counteract declining sales.

  • The Toronto Star reports that 31 Food Basics franchisees in Canada are suing A&P Canada for breach of contract, charging that the retailer is withholding manufacturer rebates and using them to fatten its own bottom line.

    A&P Canada is denying the charges.

    The paper reports that what prompted the suit was A&P's decision "to stop showing the rebates as a separate line item on franchisees' invoices. Instead, A&P folded the rebates into the 'net' cost of the goods. The company also changed the fees it charged for other services, as was its right under its franchise agreements."

    The franchisees' profits began to shrink, and they complained and then filed the suit.

  • The UK's Federation of Wholesale Distributors (FWD) is appealing a decision by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) to allow Tesco to acquire the Adminstore company and its 45 Europa, Harts and Cullens stores. The FWD says the acquisition will be bad for competition, giving Tesco too big a share of the London market.

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