Business & Finance

Winn-Dixie Stores Inc., one of the nation's largest supermarket chains, filed for protection from creditors Monday under Chapter 11 of the federal bankruptcy code. Suppliers and creditors reportedly had grown concerned that the company, which operates 920 stores across the Southeast but has lagged behind rivals Publix and Wal-Mart, is running short of cash to fund daily operations. The company, which is based in Jacksonville, Fla., and employs 80,000 people, pledged "business as usual" as it reorganizes with the help of an $800 million line of credit from Wachovia Bank, reports said.

Day-to-day responsibility for Nissan Motor Co. was handed over to the vice president of its operations in China as chief executive Carlos Ghosn prepares to be appointed as the leader of Renault, the French automaker. In Tokyo Monday, Ghosn introduced Toshiyuki Shiga as Nissan's chief operating officer, a post that has been vacant since Ghosn himself gave it up four years ago. Ghosn was sent to Japan by Renault in 1999 to rescue Nissan from impending bankruptcy and succeeded in turning the company into one of the industry's most profitable. He is expected to be named Renault's chief executive in April, although he'll keep the title of president of Nissan. Renault remains Nissan's largest shareholder.

The largest shareholder in 7-Eleven Inc., the convenience-store chain, has decided to unload its entire stake for $1.2 billion, reported. It said Ito-Yokado Co. of Tokyo, also a retailer, needs the cash to cover the cost of closing unprofitable stores in Japan. The buyer, Seven-Eleven Japan Co., thus assumes majority control over the American chain, raising its stake from 36.2 percent to 73.8 percent. 7-Eleven's headquarters are in Dallas.

LM Ericsson, the world's largest maker of antennas, cables, transmitters, and other components for cellphone networks, said it will close a plant in Nynëshamn, Sweden, cutting 393 jobs. A spokesman said the move was necessary because such components "are getting more advanced and fewer." Ericsson is based in Stockholm.

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