Fresh Brands Hopes to Make Another Purchase in 2002

KOHLER, Wisc. - Piggly Wiggly supermarket operator Fresh Brands Inc. on Wednesday said it hopes to make at least one major acquisition by the end of 2002 to increase revenue, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

Speaking at the company's annual shareholders meeting, president and CEO Elwood Winn said the company has identified some potential supermarket acquisition targets, and that a major acquisition would help Fresh Brands increase its annual revenue by at least 10 percent in 2003.

Fresh Brands reported 2001 revenue of $580 million, and Winn said he expects that figure to grow by 15 percent this year.

Earlier during the meeting, CFO Armand Go said Fresh Brands has the financial capability to make two acquisitions roughly the size of the 2001 purchase of Dick's Supermarkets Inc., which cost $30 million.

Fresh Brands has been test marketing the use of gasoline pumps at its Piggly Wiggly in Crivitz, Wisc., as a way to increase same-store sales, Winn said. He said the test has been successful, and the company hopes to roll out additional fuel centers by the first quarter of 2003.

Those fuel centers will be developed within the parking lots of supermarkets and will likely include small convenience stores, Winn said. He said roughly 20 percent to 25 percent percent of the supermarkets owned or supplied by Fresh Brands could accommodate the fuel center-convenience stores.

Fresh Brands also has been researching the possibility of adding pharmacies to some of its supermarkets, Winn said.
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