France allows supermarket TV ads
Paris: The French government has dropped a ban preventing major retailers from advertising on analogue television channels. The ban was originally enforced in 1968 to protect smaller retailers and local advertising revenues but was ruled unlawful by the European Commission in 2004. Since then, advertisements have appeared on cable, satellite and digital terrestrial TV channels but can now also appear on analogue channels. Système U was the first retailer to advertise, featuring an advertisement for washing powder in the first advertising break after midnight on New Year's Day.

Metro to shut 15 of acquired stores
Düsseldorf: Metro Group, which acquired Wal-Mart's German business in July last year, plans to close 15 of the 85 stores included in the deal. The remaining 70 stores will be converted to its Real fascia before the middle of the year, with six stores already converted. Wal-Mart's German headquarters in Wuppertal will also close by the third quarter of this year.

Wal-Mart a little more upbeat
Bentonville, Arkansas: Wal-Mart said it expected a 1.6% increase in like-for-like sales at its US stores during December. The rise will come as a welcome boost for the retail giant, which last month warned like-for-like sales would increase by no more than 1%. Wal-Mart reported a 0.1% fall in like-for-like sales for November.

7-Eleven looks to 8,000 stores
Dallas, Texas: C-store chain 7-Eleven has announced plans to increase the number of its North American stores from 6,100 to 8,000 by 2010. The group is planning acquisitions in the short to medium term and could eventually operate as many as 30,000 stores in the US and Canada, according to CEO Joseph DePinto. It also plans to introduce hot food such as pasta and meatloaf into its stores this year to increase its convenience offer.

Carrefour opens first Jordan store
Amman: French retailer Carrefour has opened its first hypermarket in Jordan. The 110,000 sq ft store is situated in City Mall, the largest shopping centre in Jordan, and offers more than 40,000 products including a bakery, fresh produce, butchery, fishery, roastery, deli and a textile section. "We brought into Jordan our long-term global expertise that helps us offer the Jordanian shoppers the same quality, variety and value-for-money shopping experience that is provided all over the world," said Hattab Aouini, general manager of Carrefour Jordan.

Third dairy for Wimm-Bill-Dann
Moscow: Russian food and drink producer Wimm-Bill-Dann Foods has acquired its third dairy company in as many months. The group acquired milk processor Molka OJSC, one of the largest milk processing enterprises in Eastern Siberia. Wimm-Bill-Dann Foods said the deal was in line with its strategy to expand the business through acquiring companies with leading market positions in their regions and a strong brand portfolio. It acquired Manros in October and Ochakovo Dairy Plant in November.