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A class action has been filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey on behalf of purchasers of the securities of the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. Inc. (A&P) for the period between July 23, 2009, and Dec. 10, 2010. The complaint, filed Sept. 9 by Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP, a 180-lawyer firm with offices in San Diego, San Francisco, New York, Boca Raton, Washington, Philadelphia and Atlanta, claims that some former and current A&P executives violated the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. A&P itself wasn’t named as a defendant in the action because it filed for bankruptcy protection in December 2010.
Those named in the action are former Executive Chairman and CEO Christian Haub, former CEO and President Eric Claus, former CFO and Treasurer Brenda Galgano, Vice Chairman and Chief Strategy Officer Andreas Guldin, former CEO and President Ron Marshall, and current CEO and President Sam Martin.
The complaint alleges that during the period mentioned above, the defendants failed to disclose material adverse facts about the company’s true financial condition, business and prospects. Specifically, the class action claims that the executives failed to reveal that A&P was facing increased low-cost competition from retailers such as Walmart and Target, which negatively affected its business and financial condition; that the Pathmark acquisition was a “complete disaster” for the company, as Pathmark’s operations were in far worse condition than had been represented to investors; that A&P wasn’t operating according to internal expectations and couldn’t achieve the guidance endorsed by the defendants; and that, as a result of these factors, the defendants lacked a reasonable basis for their positive statements about the company, its operations and prospects.
The class action seeks to recover damages on behalf of all purchasers of A&P securities during the period noted above. Those who are member of this class can view a copy of the complaint or join the class action online at www.rgrdlaw.com/cases/aandp/.
When contacted by Progressive Grocer, the Montvale, N.J.-based grocer responded: "While A&P is not a party in this suit, we believe the suit is without merit due to teh fact that, among other things, the company's financial disclosures were accurate at the time they were made, as well as consistent with applicable law and regulatory requirements."