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MONTVALE, N.J. - Industry insiders are speculating that A&P is about to unload 31 Kohl's grocery stores in Wisconsin, the Newark, N.J. Star-Ledger reports.
On Friday the company removed the head of its New Orleans division and replaced him with Glenn Dickson, an executive who had been running Kohl's -- a grocery chain with no ties to the mass retailer by the same name. A company spokesman said no replacement has been named for Dickson.
Also last week, Kohl's employees said they were surprised to see strangers in many of the stores taking measurements, according to Dan Welch, president of United Food and Commercial Workers union Local 1444, who spoke with the newspaper.
"It was all very suspicious," said Welch, whose local represents about 1,600 Kohl's employees. "The people are stirred up to a fevered pitch about what's going on with the company."
A&P said last month it was considering selling assets to ensure the chain has enough money to make its debt payments. The company, which lost $174 million over the past two quarters, has been struggling with a weak economy, fierce competition and management upheaval.
Potential suitors include Albertsons division Jewel Food Stores and Roundy's Inc., the largest food retailer in Wisconsin, analysts said. Jewel has 16 stores in Wisconsin. Officials from both companies declined to comment.
A&P also has been shopping around its Eight O'clock coffee brand, according to several industry insiders.