Rausch has been the business editor since September 2008, previously serving as senior business reporter. He joined the Chronicle in April 2007. He has written for newspapers in Napoleon, Ohio, Moline, Ill., and Lima, Ohio. He holds a bachelor of science in journalism from Ohio University (1992). In 2006, he received a second place award in business writing from the Association Press in Ohio.
Posted December 8, 2009 03:39 pm - Updated December 8, 2009 05:19 pm

Bi-Lo bi-passes Food Lion

We won’t have to seek answers as to which one stays and which one goes in regards to Bi-Lo stores being too close to Food Lion stores.

Bi-Lo turned down the Lion in its efforts to buy the bankrupt grocery chain.

Instead of letting Food Lion’s Belgian-based owner, Delhaize, pay $425 million for most of Bi-Lo, the supermarket chain decided to finish its bankruptcy proceedings with its own reorganization plans.

Bi-Lo filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March to get rid of some of its debt.

Bi-Lo’s current owner, Lone Star Funds, will raise $350 million – some of its through loans – to pump into Bi-Lo. The Texas equity firm will then continue to own and operate the 200-store chain. A second plan has some of the debt being turned into equity stake by the creditors.

Neither involves Food Lion. And the offer to buy the stores is no longer valid.

When Delhaize offered to buy Bi-Lo in October, it raised some questions about whether stores would close after the Bi-Los all became Food Lions – especially Furys Ferry Road where a new Food Lion is a mile away from the Bi-Lo.

Competition will remain with five major players: Kroger, Publix, WalMart, Food Lion and Bi-Lo.

AUGUSTA IS AFFORDABLE: National business magazine, Forbes, grabbed some data from Moody’s and the federal government and tossed it into a data sort. What spit out was a No. 5 ranking in housing affordabilty, with a twist on factoring in property taxes and commute times.

(They called it bang for the buck.)

As a matter of fact, it was the travel time (second) and real estate taxes (fifth) where Augusta ranked the highest in this chart derived from the largest 100 metro areas.

Our not-so-bad foreclosures and prospects for future job growth helped too.

CONFIDENCE: Manpower Inc. came out with its quarterly job outlook, but it isn’t the only national staffing agency with a local office with a survey.

Spherion measures employee confidence.

Dec. 4 was the latest release of the Spherion Employee Confidence Index. This index measures workers’ confidence in their personal employment situation and optimism in the economic environment.

The number of workers reporting that they are likely to look for a new job in the next year jumped by 5 percentage points – the biggest hike seen in nearly two years.
The index itself went up in November.

Other wrinkles in the data: Fewer people believe jobs are scarce, more workers feel confident in the future of their employer, more of them feel secure that they won’t lose their job soon.

WHY YOU SHOULD CARE ABOUT TEMP AGENCIES: Businesses will increase the number of temporary workers before they start adding permanent employees to their own payrolls.

An increase in temps through staffing agencies will forecast broader hiring on the horizon.

This scenario is playing out right now across the nation.