Tension at the top of Metro Group, the world’s fourth-largest retailer, made the headlines this week, with the future of CEO Dr Eckhard Cordes in doubt. Across the Atlantic, Sara Lee was rocked by the departure of senior executive CJ Fraleigh. In the US, ConAgra Foods told takeover target Ralcorp Holdings it had days to being talks on its  US$5.2bn bid, while in the UK, Marks and Spencer showcased its new-look food halls as part of a GBP600m (US$948m) revamp of its stores.

GERMANY: Metro CEO Cordes “optimistic” of contract extension
Metro Group CEO Dr Eckhard Cordes wants to extend his contract to lead the German retail giant, despite a lack of support from key shareholder Haniel.

US: Sara Lee North America chief Fraleigh quits
Sara Lee has today (12 September) confirmed that the CEO of its North America operations, CJ Fraleigh, has resigned from the company.

US: ConAgra puts deadline on Ralcorp takeover bid
ConAgra Foods has given takeover target Ralcorp Holdings until Monday (19 September) to hold talks on its US$5.2bn bid or it will walk away from the table.

UK: M&S emphasises “speciality” with food revamp
The planned revamp of Marks and Spencer’s food halls will highlight the UK retailer’s aim to offer consumers more “speciality”, its chief executive said today (13 September). 

In the spotlight: Swiss franc weighs on domestic producers, retailers
The strong Swiss franc has caused difficulty for the country’s retailers and food producers. Sam Webb takes a look at the problems surrounding the powerful currency and speaks to Swiss companies that are feeling the pressure.

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The just-food briefing – self-service technology in retail
Retailers around the world are using self-service technology in their stores – some with success, others less so. Glynn Davis looks at the different models, examines why some retailers are changing what they use and discusses where the technology could go next.

RUSSIA: Auchan plans more stores in Russia
French retailer Auchan is to expand its Russian operations by opening stores in regional cities.

BRICs and beyond: PepsiCo’s health drive in Mexico
PepsiCo plans to launch healthier snacks in Mexico to meet laws targeting obesity – and use its investment there as a base to sell the products further afield.

UK: Food business boosts ABF FY trading
Annual sales and profits from Associated British Foods‘ grocery business are expected to have risen over the last 12 months, the UK-based company said today (12 September).

US/ISRAEL: Frutarom acquires Flavor Systems International
Frutarom, the Israeli flavours and ingredients company, is set to buy US-based Flavor Systems International.