The start of the week saw a flurry of a retail news, with confirmation of A&P’s move into Chapter 11 protection in the US and Wal-Mart Stores’ decision to close its office in Russia. Later in the week, Tesco strengthened its UK c-store network with a surprise acquisition. Meanwhile, General Mills dominated the manufacturing headlines, with its half-year results, rumours of French interest in its Green Giant brand and an acquisition in Australia – until news of Arla Foods’ merger talks with German dairy co-op Hansa Milch were announced today (17 December).

Talking shop: A&P’s future is uncertain after bankruptcy
A&P’s descent into Chapter 11 protection has taken few in the US retail sector by surprise but what does the future hold for the historic grocer? And which competitors could benefit?

Comment: Wal-Mart ran out of options in Russia
Wal-Mart Stores has closed its office in Moscow, set up two years ago to study how to enter Russia’s retail market. It appears, however, that the US retailer could not find the right target to buy.

US: Danone settles with regulators on probiotic health claims
Danone has agreed to settle with US regulators investigating claims the French food giant made when advertising probiotic products in the market.

DENMARK/GERMANY: Arla in merger talks with German dairy Hansa-Milch
Dairy giant Arla Foods is in talks to merge with German dairy co-operative Hansa-Milch, it emerged today (17 December).

UK: Tesco’s One Stop to acquire 77 Mills stores
One Stop, a convenience chain run by UK retail giant Tesco, is to acquire 77 stores from English retailer Mills as part of its long-term plan to grow its business.

On the money: Promotional activity will “moderate” – General Mills CEO
The CEO of US food group General Mills said he expects the promotional environment in the US to “moderate” in the next six months.

UPDATE: AUS: Pasta Master “a great fit”, says General Mills
General Mills has said that its new Australian acquisition Pasta Master is “a great fit” for the US food group’s operations in the country.

UPDATE: FRANCE/US: Bonduelle coy over Green Giant link
French processed vegetable group Bonduelle has remained coy over reports that it could be looking to strengthen its presence in the US with the acquisition of the Green Giant brand.

FRANCE/CANADA: Yoplait buys organic yoghurt brand Liberté
French yoghurt maker Yoplait, itself the subject of frenzied takeover speculation, has bought Canadian organic yogurt brand Liberté.

UK: Westler Foods calls in administrators
UK hot dog maker Westler Foods has called in the administrators after being unable to fund its pension scheme.

FRANCE: Kraft reveals test launch for Philadelphia cream cheese
Kraft Foods is testing out cream cheese brand Philadelphia in France, the US food giant has revealed.