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  • Dutch retailer Ahold reportedly has told a newspaper in the Netherlands that it will begin considering acquisitions in 2006, with the likelihood being that it would spend as much as three-and-a-half billion dollars on a purchase.

    However, Ahold CFO Hannu Ryopponen said that there are no specific plans in place, and that "it would be idiotic to go on the takeover path while the ship is still leaking.”

    Ryopponen pointed to the company’s Stop & Shop division is a probable candidate to be doing some of the buying, noting that Stop & Shop sales could double in 10 years through new store openings and small acquisitions.

    Of course, right now Ahold is in the divestiture state of mind, looking to unload its Bi-Lo and Bruno’s chains in the US as well as its Spanish operations.

  • Anheuser-Busch has been ordered by a federal judge to stop using advertisements that attack competitor Miller Brewing Co. for being foreign owned.

    The posters, displayed in liquor stores, say that Miller is owned by South African Breweries. In fact, Philip Morris sold Miller to South African Brewers PLC in 2002, which then formed a new company called SABMiller PLC, which is based in London.

    The judge’s ruling is a temporary injunction until formal arguments can be heard on a date still to be determined.

  • In addition to looking for ways to create low-sugar doughnuts and frozen drinks in its stores as a way of catering to customers concerned about nutrition and fat issues. Krispy Kreme reportedly is test-marketing a reloadable spending and gift card that can be used in its stores – a similar initiative to that used successfully by Starbucks.

  • UK regulators have approved the sale by William Morrison Supermarkets of 19 stores to Waitrose, part of the divesting of stores by Morrison that was required by the government when Morrison bought Safeway Plc.

    Terms of the sale were not disclosed.

  • The Chicago Sun Times reports that Pathmark is using computers not just to allow job applicants to fill in basic information, but also as a way to identify people who will be a good fit for the company in terms of attitude, work ethic and skill.

    The evaluation takes place almost immediately, according to the report, with store managers able to stop qualified and desirable applicants before they even leave the store and apply elsewhere.

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