Bharti to invest $2.5bn in chain
NEW DELHI: Telecoms giant Bharti Enterprises is set to invest $2.5bn (£1.27bn) in its Indian joint venture with Wal-Mart. The venture is expected to roll out a national supermarket chain creating 10 million sq ft of retail space and employ 60,000 people by 2015. The format is expected to face competition from Reliance Retail, which is also rolling out a chain of stores, called Reliance Fresh, and plans to operate as many as 4,000 sites in India by 2010.

Wal-Mart targets needy areas
BENTONVILLE, ARKANSAS: Wal-Mart is planning stores in nine areas of the US in need of economic revitalisation: Cleveland, Decatur, East Hills, El Mirage, Indianapolis, Landover Hills, Portsmouth, Richmond and Sanger. They will become 'Wal-Mart Jobs and Opportunity Zones', which will be anchored by the planned Wal-Mart store. The programme will offer local businesses in-store advertising and Wal-Mart will work with local chambers of commerce and business groups to increase economic opportunities in each area.

Higher prices boost Shoprite sales
BRACKENFELL, WESTERN CAPE: Sales at supermarket chain Shoprite have increased 15% to R19.1bn (£1.37bn) for the six months to December. Figures were boosted by higher food prices and an extra 40 stores that opened during the period, but were unaffected by 12 weeks of industrial action over pay disputes. "What we accomplished was due to hard-headed trading and dedicated management," said Shoprite chief executive officer Whitey Basson.

Kraft reveals business strategy
NORTHFIELD, ILLINOIS: Kraft Foods is aiming to increase sales by 3 to 4% through a strategic business plan. The project will include initiatives to cut costs and make the company's business categories more relevant to consumer needs. "By 2009 we'll hit our stride," said Irene Rosenfeld, CEO of Kraft Foods. "We'll fully realise the financial benefits of our investments and deliver our long-term targets of at least 4% organic net sales growth."

Winn-Dixie profits mark turn-around
JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA: Winn-Dixie, the US supermarket chain which emerged from bankruptcy last November, has recorded a net profit of $262.2m (£134m) for the half-year to 10 January, against a loss of $315m in the same period last year. Like-for-like sales rose 1.8% during the period, with net sales edging up from $3.82bn to $3.84bn. "We are pleased to have emerged from bankruptcy with virtually no debt and substantial borrowing capacity under our new credit facility," said Peter Lynch, Winn-Dixie chairman, CEO and president.

Heineken volumes drive profits
AMSTERDAM: Heineken has reported a 59.1% increase in full-year net profit to €1.2bn (£813.9m) and sales up 9.6% at €11.8bn. Growth was driven by higher volumes, better pricing and increased sales of profitable brands, the brewer said. Sales volumes were up in all regions, with strong performances in Eastern Europe, the Americas and Africa.