US supermarket chain Albertson's posted a second quarter net loss of $151m as restructuring costs and store closures hit the bottom line. Sales rose 4% to $9.58bn. The Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association has scheduled its first annual meeting for September 27. First half pre-tax profit at sausage casings maker Devro plummeted 40% to £6.1m on sales up 2.7% to £114m in the six months to June 30 owing to the impact of BSE in Germany and south-east Asia and foot and mouth in the UK. Wal-Mart Canada is to double its rate of expansion to 20 stores a year. It plans to get store numbers up from the current 180 to 300. L'Oréal posted a 26% rise in first-half net profit to 587m euros on sales up 13.5% to 6.98bn euros, boosted by strong performances in hair colourants and perfume. The Yorkshire Co-op has announced a record 17% rise in trading profit on sales up 3.5% to £252m. Tesco Lotus Thai hypermarkets will close between midnight and 6am, instead of staying open 24 hours, following government moves to protect the interests of small retailers. Toiletries and household distributor DCS Europe has purchased a 270,000 sq ft warehouse in Stratford-upon-Avon ­ five times larger than its current site. S Daniels, the supplier best known for its New Covent Garden soup subsidiary, has adjourned its extraordinary general meeting to September 18 to allow a major shareholder more time to consider an offer by Singapore Food Industries for a 26% stake in the company. German retailer and wholesaler Metro has announced plans to take its Extra supermarket and Galeria department stores into eastern Europe where it has successfully taken its cash and carry operation. Logistics company Tibbett & Britten posted a 9.2% rise in first half operating profit to £14.3m on sales up 9.3% to £686m for the six months to June 30, driven by strong growth in the US and continental Europe. Ahold has raised 2.2bn euros in a share offering to help fund two major acquisitions in the US (see page 18). Tesco has struck a deal with technology firm ReadSoft to automate the process of handling supplier delivery notes. Australian winemaker BRL Hardy said first half profit was boosted by strong sales in all its major markets. Net profit rose 23.7% to AS$30.76m (£11.1m) on sales up 28.8% to AS$333.93m (£120m). Asda has told the General Optical Council that anti-competitive advertising rules could be costing customers £300m a year. It wants regulations that prevent opticians comparing prices to be dropped. {{NEWS }}