Whole Foods Market, which is set to open its first UK store in London next year, has pledged to increase its commitment to locally sourced food in the US. On its website, chief executive officer John Mackey said that an annual budget of $10m had been set up to promote local agriculture. Mackey added that the company was also planning to close off major sections of its store car parks on Sundays for farmers markets. He said: "In most cases, our stores have excellent store locations and heavy customer traffic to help these farmers markets to flourish successfully."
Italian-Dutch confectioner Perfetti Van Melle has acquired Spanish lollipop maker Chupa Chups. The deal is subject to approval from competition authorities and includes Chupa Chups' mint brand Smint. Chupa Chups' HQ and main manufacturing facilities will remain in Spain. Xavier Bernat, president of Chupa Chups, said: "This transaction reinforces the competitiveness of the company and ensures an even brighter future for Chupa Chups and Smint."
Spar has opened its first Spar Express store in Holland. Spar said that the store in Groningen would have long opening hours, a youthful, modern and fresh appearance, a focus on fresh and fast, friendly service. It added that more stores situated in high traffic areas of inner cities would open this year. The company has also created a new strapline for Spar in The Netherlands: 'The best fresh store which is the closest to the customer!'
French retailer Carrefour has been fined 1.39 billion won ($1.5m) for unfair business practices in South Korea. The Korea Fair Trade Commission ruled that Carrefour had forced suppliers to cut prices to save money on supply orders and had intentionally delayed signing contracts with suppliers. The commission said: "This move is aimed at rectifying unfair activities by large wholesale and retail operators toward their suppliers." In April this year Carrefour sold its 32 stores in the country to South Korean retailer E-Land for $1.85bn (£1bn).
Brewer SABMiller has acquired the Sparks and Steel Reserve brands from McKenzie River Corporation for $215m (£116.5m). Sparks is an alcoholic energy drink while Steel Reserve is a high-strength lager. The deal is subject to approval from the US competition authorities. Norman Adami, president and CEO of Miller Brewing Company, said: "Sparks and Steel Reserve will have an immediate positive impact on our growth profile."
Constellation Brands, which owns brands including Hardys wine and Gaymers cider, reported a first-quarter net profit to 31 May up 13% to $86m (£46.6m) on net sales up 5% to $1.2bn. The group said that net sales of branded wine for Europe and Australia/New Zealand declined in the first quarter but it would be focusing on opportunities to maximise its profitability.