Lianhua profits reach for the sky

SHANGHAI, CHINA: Lianhua Supermarket Holdings has seen its first-half pre-tax profit leap 44.2% year-on-year to 262m yuan (£20.5m). Sales rose 19.8% in the half to 10.74bn yuan and like-for-like sales were up 13%. “Though the macro-economic environment still faces uncertainties in the second half of 2008, we believe the business prospects of chained retailing enterprises will remain stable,” said chairman Wang Zhigang. Lianhua operates 3,902 outlets throughout China, nearly 200 more than in March. 

Emperia to expand with acquisitions

LUBLIN, POLAND: One of Poland’s largest wholesale and retail chain operators, Emperia Holding, is planning two acquisitions. CEO Artur Kawa is reported to have said Emperia is close to a takeover of retail group Lewitan, depending on approval from Poland’s monopoly watchdog. A takeover of newsstand operator Ruch was also mooted, but comments from Kawa suggest plans are on hold. “Ruch is not as attractive as it may seem at first sight,” he said. 

Wal-Mart signs exclusive AC/DC deal

BENTONVILLE, ARKANSAS: Wal-Mart has signed a deal with Columbia Records to exclusively sell the new AC/DC album, Black Ice, when it is released this October. The CD will be available at Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club stores and respective websites, as well as the band’s own website. No other music retailers will be able to stock the album. “Like all excited fans of AC/DC, we can hardly wait for the launch of this album and all that will surround it,” said Gary Severson, Wal-Mart’s senior vice president of entertainment. 

Woolworths to appeal court ruling

BELLA VISTA, AUSTRALIA: Australia’s largest grocer, Woolworths, has said it will appeal against a supreme court decision that blocked it from bidding for Warehouse, New Zealand’s number one retailer. Woolworths and a New Zealand-based rival, Foodstuffs, both bought stakes of 10% in Warehouse two years ago, blocking plans by its founder, Stephen Tindall, to take the company private. Both Foodstuffs and Woolworths applied for clearance to buy 100% of Warehouse, but New Zealand’s competition watchdog said a takeover would harm competition.

Anger over Entremont 6% price cut

FRANCE: French milk producers have expressed anger at a 6% price cut imposed by cheesemaker Entremont. “Entremont plans to pay producers a mere €310 per 1,000 litres, instead of €330 as previously agreed. This is unacceptable,” said Gilles Pslamon of the French milk producers’ association FNPL. Farmers said the price cut had come as they struggled to cope with rising production costs. Entremont, a subsidiary of French co-op Unicopa, is the first company to take advantage of the deregulation of the French milk market, which came into force in May 2008. Prices were previously decided collectively by producers, co-operatives and processors.