Tuesday, March 4, 2003

Tristate Summary

Kroger to merge 2 retail divisions

The Kroger Co. said Monday it plans to combine its two retail divisions based in Livonia, Mich., and Columbus and use the expected savings to help expand and remodel its Michigan store base.

The Cincinnati-based grocery chain said it plans to invest more than $185 million in the next three years and create at least 500 new jobs in Michigan, where it operates 113 stores under the Kroger and Kessel Food Markets banners. Kroger's Columbus division operates 116 stores under the Kroger banner in central and northwestern Ohio and parts of West Virginia.

The company said combining the divisions would not affect any of the 27,000 employees at stores operated by the two divisions.

Lindner buys more AFG shares

Reds owner Carl Lindner is continuing his buying spree of shares in his American Financial Group Inc. Lindner bought 29,800 shares of the insurance and financial services company Feb. 28 at $19.60 a share and 100,000 shares at $19.86 a share the day before, according to filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

He and his family control American Financial, the umbrella company for most of its financial interests, including the Reds.

Steinway plant on strike in Ohio

Steinway Musical Instruments Inc., the maker of Steinway & Sons pianos, Monday said workers are on strike at a plant in Eastlake, Ohio, that makes Selmer band and orchestra instruments.

The strike by Local 2359 of the United Auto Workers, which represents about 230 employees at the Conn-Selmer plant, will cut production by 150 instruments a day, the Waltham, Mass.-based company said in a statement. Existing inventory is expected to meet customer needs for several months, Steinway said.

The labor contract with the union expired Feb. 15.

- Staff/wire reports

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