Lidl is turning the tables on residents protesting against supermarket store openings - by striking up its own list of supporters’ names.
The discounter has launched a petition and held an open day in an effort to drum up support for a new store in Shrewsbury, Shropshire.
A Lidl spokesman said that the open day was a chance for locals to see Lidl’s plans for the store and to question people
from Lidl’s property and management departments. They would also be able to discuss recruitment opportunities.
The store faces opposition from local residents, who have launched a 300-name petition in an effort to prevent the store from opening.
Lidl recently used a similar tactic in a bid to gain support for the building of a store in the Orkneys (‘Lidl drums up support for its debut in Orkney Islands’, The Grocer, July 2, p10). Meanwhile, Tesco has written to 52 county councillors in Carlisle, Cumbria, to find out why they have taken so long to look at its planning application for a store extension.
Tesco was granted permission for a 40,000 sq ft store in the Viaduct Estate area of the city but has since extended its plans to a 71,000 sq ft store on stilts with a car park underneath it.
Tesco’s corporate affairs manager, Shaun Edgeley, said that Cumbria County Council had so far taken 15 months to look at the application, so the retailer has lodged an appeal for non-determination. The appeal will lead to a public inquiry, which is expected to be heard later this year or in early 2006.
Edgeley said that Cumbria County Council’s highways authority was holding up the procedure. “They’ve taken 15 months and it’s only an application for a bigger store.”
He added that Tesco owned the site and had spent a lot of money on it already.
n Aid for africa
Marks and Spencer has formed a partnership with oil giant Shell to help reduce poverty in Africa. The two will work together to invest $1m in flower and fruit-growing enterprises. Flower growers on the Agulhas Plain in South Africa and orange and bean growers in Morocco will also be given advice on how to run their businesses efficiently.

n Coke for iraq
Beth Brooks
n unit sold French drinks group Pernod Ricard has sold its grape juice specialist unit, Foulon Sopagly, to Raisin SA consortium for an undisclosed sum. The consortium includes a number of distillers based in the Charente region of France. Last year the grape juice unit had a turnover of E37m.
n 50% stake US retail giant Wal-Mart could take a majority stake in its Japanese affiliate Seiyu. Reports say Wal-Mart is about to raise its 42.4% stake to 50%. Wal-Mart has steadily increased its stake in Seiyu since it took a 3% share in 2002, but it has been unable to stop Seiyu reporting net losses for the past three years. Meanwhile, Wal-Mart has raised its forecast for like-for-like sales in its stores in June. It said it expects to see a 4.5% increase, instead of the initial forecast of 2-4%. n sales up 5% US spice manufacturer McCormick & Company has reported a 5% increase in sales to $629m for the second quarter ending May 31. Robert Lawless, chairman, president and CEO, said the group expected strong sales growth and a 16-20% increase in earnings per share for the second half of the year.
Coca-Cola is returning to Iraq after a 37-year absence. The US soft drinks maker has launched a joint venture with Turkish company Efes Invest and its Iraqi partner, HMBS, to bottle the drink in Dubai and distribute it across the country. The return could spark a drinks war with Pepsi, which has two factories in Iraq. n Oz charter Australia’s Competition & Consumer Commission has launched a new charter to prevent its biggest retailers - Woolworths, Coles Myer and Metcash - from interfering with independent retailers’ freedom to seek alternative bidders when they sell stores. ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel said it would allow them to achieve the highest prices via an open bidding process. n Growing fast Japanese supermarket group Aeon has reported a 24.5% rise in first-quarter operating profit to 26.51bn Yen. Aeon also said revenue had increased 4.9% to 1.035 trillion Yen and it has forecast annual sales of 4.34 trillion Yen.