Albertsons Inc, Boise, Ida., reports net earnings for fiscal 2003 of $556 million vs. $485 million in the prior year and estimates that the recently settled labor dispute in Southern California reduced net earnings by about $90 million in the fourth quarter. Sales for the year are $35.4 billion, flat vs. the prior year, and reflect approximately $700 million in lost sales in the fourth quarter due to the labor dispute.
Separately, Albertsons announces that it will buy 202 Shaw’s stores for approximately $2.5 billion, which will expand the chain’s presence into the U.S. Northeast region. Shaw’s had been a unit of J Sainsbury Plc, which says the sale allows them to invest more in the United Kingdom. The purchase is expected to close in the second quarter of this year.
The Kroger Co., Cincinnati, Ohio, announces earnings of $315 million for the fiscal year ending Jan. 31, 2004. These results include a variety of charges that total more than $801 million. Sales for the year increased 3.9 percent to $53.8 billion.
Walgreen’s and Costco’s Kirkland Signature brands of supplements receive the highest customer satisfaction ratings in the respective retail segments of pharmacy and wholesale club, according to results of a survey conducted by ConsumerLab.com of White Plains, N.Y.
Ralph’s Grocery Co., owned by Kroger, says it plans to close permanently 15 under-performing stores in Southern California by the end of May. Each of the closing stores has experienced declining sales over an extended period of time. Approximately 600 employees are affected, but the company will place as many as possible in other stores, it says.
Carrefour Group opens its 44th and largest store in China. The 11,600-square-foot-outlet is also the fifth store in Beijing.
Fresh Brands Inc. of Sheboygan, Wis., announces the conversion of four stores in western Wisconsin, formerly Our Town IGA and Jubliee Foods, to the Piggly Wiggly franchise. Partnering with Topco, Fresh Brands offers such store brands as Food Club, Valu Time and the Full Circle line of natural and organic products.
Walgreen Co., Deerfield, Ill., reports record sales and earnings for the second quarter and the first half of fiscal 2004, ending Feb. 29, 2004. Sales are up 16 percent to $18.5 billion for the first half, while earnings increased 14 percent to $688 million.
7-Eleven Inc., Dallas, streamlines its vendor application and selection process using Internet-based technology to capture information from firms that want to provide products and services to the convenience chain.
Alpha Nutraceuticals Inc. of San Diego, Calif. acquires Tempo Laboratories, a manufacturer of private label nutritional supplements based in Chula Vista, Calif.
Kmart Holding Corp., Troy, Mich., (formerly Kmart Corp.) reports earnings of $248 million for the 39-week period ending Jan. 28, 2004. Same-store sales decreased 9 percent compared to the same 39-week period in the prior year. Total sales declined 23 percent, attributable, in part, to the closure of 316 stores in the first quarter of 2003.
Cott Corp., Toronto, announces that its subsidiary Cott Beverages Inc. is acquiring assets of The Cardinal Companies of Elizabethtown, including a bottling facility in Elizabethtown, Ky. Cardinal has a long-standing relationship with Cott as a co-packer of soft drinks in the United States.
The Associated Press reports that Procter & Gamble Co., Cincinnati, Ohio, has introduced a skin-care line featuring products priced from $50 to $250 in 11 Saks Fifth Avenue stores across the country. The SK-II line of moisturizers began 25 years ago in Japan.
Shopko Stores, Inc. of Green Bay, Wis., reports fiscal year earnings for the period ending Jan. 31, 2004, of $39.1 million compared to $41.2 for the prior year. Sales are $3.18 billion vs. $3.42 billion.
Publix Supermarkets reports net earnings for 2003 of $661 million, an increase of 4.5 percent vs. the prior year. Sales, which grew 5.8 percent to $16.8 billion, were boosted by the introduction of new private label natural and organic items under the GreenWise brand.
According to The New York Times, Wal-Mart’s push to have its top 100 suppliers using radio frequency identification (RFID) tags has hit a snag. The first test for tagging of pallets and boxes of general merchandise is scheduled for April, but many analysts do not expect a full-scale rollout until after 2005.
Kash n’ Karry, Tampa, Fla., a unit of Delhaize Group, announces a new supermarket concept called Sweetbay Supermarket. The initial stores will open in Seminole, Naples and Fort Myers in Fall 2004, and over the next three years the entire chain will be remodeled and rebranded in the new format.