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Bloomberg reports that Safeway bond investors are claiming “they were robbed of their rights by a 2015 Albertsons Cos. debt deal. Albertsons calls the claim a stale hold-up attempt of the supermarket chain as it seeks to finish taking over Rite Aid Corp.

“That’s the essence of the dispute between Albertsons and a group of noteholders who claim the company defaulted three years ago, when it overhauled its debt after purchasing Safeway. Both sides fired new broadsides over the past week, with noteholders who own Safeway’s 2031 unsecured debt outlining their position in a July 19 letter asking for a default declaration, and Albertsons giving a detailed rejection today.

“The arguments are heating up as the $3.1 billion purchase of Rite Aid heads for completion, with a stockholder vote on the merger scheduled by the drugstore chain for Aug. 9. The deal depends in part on Albertsons issuing even more debt to pay for Rite Aid. Albertsons said in a statement to Bloomberg it doesn’t expect any delay, but the timing of the dispute does give pause to some analysts.”

• The Chicago Tribune reports on how Target is investing “in revamping more than 1,000 of its 1,835 stores by 2020. The Minneapolis-based retailer’s new look caters to customers who are shopping more online but still come to stores for quick-hit trips or to browse and be inspired, said Justin Burns, senior group vice president of Target stores.

“Burns estimated Target is spending $4 million to $10 million on each remodeled store, a sizable sum when sales are growing faster online than in stores. But the stores aren’t going away: Nearly 95 percent of Target’s sales came from its stores in the most recent quarter. Those stores also filled more than two-thirds of digital orders during those three months, either shipping them to customers or pulling items for pickup … Target is betting that investing in a better store experience — whether that means making it easier for time-crunched online shoppers to grab their items and go or for bricks-and-mortar loyalists to linger and browse — will pay off.”
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