Published on: April 6, 2022
• From the Los Angeles Times:
"As panicked shoppers stocked up on grocery essentials during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Smart & Final made them pay.
"The grocery chain engaged in price gouging on four premium egg products between March 4 and June 22, 2020, state Atty. Gen. Rob Bonta said Tuesday as his office announced a settlement with the Commerce-based supermarket company.
"Following Gov. Gavin Newsom’s state of emergency declaration on March 4, 2020, companies were prohibited from selling food and other necessities for more than 10% higher than pre-emergency prices, unless it was a direct result of increased supply or labor and production costs.
"According to Bonta, Smart & Final sold more than 100,000 cartons of illegally priced eggs, having raised the price on some items by approximately 25%.
"The grocery chain will pay $175,000 in penalties."
In a statement, Smart & Final attributed the price hikes to "fluctuations in egg prices charged by its suppliers."
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have experienced numerous supplier price increases in multiple product categories,” the company said. “In response to the rapid pace of these price increases, we briefly and unintentionally raised the price of premium eggs to align with supplier price increases on standard eggs. We want our valued customers to know that price gouging has no place in our stores. We will continue to review our pricing to ensure it remains compliant.”
• Southeastern Grocers Inc. (SEG), parent company and home of Fresco y Más, Harveys Supermarket and Winn-Dixie grocery stores, said yesterday that it is "committing to increase sustainability for its Own Brand packaging by the end of 2028." The announcement, the company said, :is in response to feedback provided by SEG’s customers, associates and community members who expressed their desire to see more sustainable packaging as their top sustainability concern. As part of its pledge, SEG will overhaul its Own Brand packaging by eliminating the use of polystyrene, make all packaging reusable, recyclable or industrially compostable, and include an average of 30% post-consumer recycled material in all packaging."
Anthony Hucker, president-CEO of Southeastern Grocers, said, that the company has heard clearly from customers “that sustainable packaging is among their top concerns, and we listened! In response, we are working with our supplier partners to establish sustainable packaging goals and meet our commitments in 2028."
• Publix has announced that "its board of directors approved a 5‑for-1 stock split and an increase in the number of authorized shares of its common stock from 1 billion to 4 billion shares. In addition, Publix announced the board declared a quarterly dividend on its common stock.
"Under the revised Florida Business Corporation Act, which became effective Jan. 1, 2020, no shareholder approval is required in connection with a stock split and the related increase in authorized shares.
"The stock split and authorized shares increase will be effective as of the close of business April 14, 2022. For each share of stock a shareholder owns, they will receive four additional shares issued from the stock split in book entry form as an electronic certificate(s)."
• Bloomberg reports that "French supermarkets are joining a national effort to curb the country’s electricity consumption, as cold weather and nuclear reactor outages pushed domestic power prices to a 13-year high.
"Carrefour SA said it’s cutting its power consumption Monday morning, using methods like 'reducing heating in offices, and dimming lighting in the group’s 400 stores across the country,' a spokeswoman told Bloomberg News."