Organic chain Fresh & Wild has secured £3m private finance to add three more London stores to its portfolio of six in the next financial year. United Co-op has bought three stores, in Newcastle-under-Lyme and Kingsley in Cheshire and St Annes-on-Sea in Lancashire to take its convenience estate to 313 stores. US competition watchdog the FTC has cleared Nestlé's $10.3bn acquisition of petfood giant Ralston Purina. US grocer Kroger has announced plans to slash 1,500 jobs over the next year to cut costs. Shell and China Petroleum & Chemical Corp have submitted a feasibility study to the Chinese government to jointly operate 500 forecourt sites in eastern China. A Bill to outlaw trading in stores larger than 3,000sq ft on Christmas Day had its third reading in the House of Lords this week. It will now return to the Commons for final approval. Hull-based convenience chain Jackson's has teamed up with mobile technology specialist Brainstorm to offer customers a text message gift service. Cadbury Schweppes has offered to buy the 49% minority shareholding in Cadbury India that it does not already own for £128m. Northern supermarket chain Booths has opened its 26th store, at Settle, Yorkshire. US competition authorities have cleared Ahold's $500m purchase of US supermarket chain Bruno's, which has 184 stores in Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Mississippi. NFU president Ben Gill has called for improvements to the diagnosis and epidemiology of foot and mouth disease and for stricter controls to combat illegal meat imports to the EU. He was speaking at a Brussels conference on ways to combat the disease. Delivered wholesaler P&H McLane has recruited 69 stores to trade under the new Mace Express fascia, nine months after its launch. The Spar store in Stewarton, Dumfries, owned by Alex Currie, has won the Robert Wiseman Dairies Neighbourhood Shop of the Year Award. H P Bulmer's profits for the half year to the end of October were cut by 17.8% to £13.5m on turnover up 11.3% to £286m. Scottish retail sales for November were up 8% year on year but slightly behind the performance of the UK as a whole, according to the Scottish Retail Consortium's monthly sales monitor. Tesco has been censured by the ASA for misleading price comparisons in leaflets, claiming it was 13% and 16% cheaper than Sainsbury. GF Lovell would like to make it clear that although it has sold its manufacturing assets to snack bar producer Halo Foods (The Grocer, December 8) it is still a sales company for Lovell's branded products. {{NEWS }}