Albertson’s, Boise, Idaho, announces it will either close or sell all of its stores in the New Orleans market. It has entered into an agreement to sell four of its New Orleans stores to the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co.
Chicago-based Jay’s Potato Chips is purchased by Ubiquity Brands, Chicago. The Chicago Tribune reports that Ubiquity, led by former Select Beverages chief executive officer, Tim Healy, plans to upgrade the firm’s manufacturing and distribution facilities and aggressively expand into private label. Joe Shanklind, previously head of marketing for Select, will be chief executive officer at Jay’s.
Rite Aid Corp., Camp Hill, Pa., cites aggressive promotions of health supplements and a brisk flu season that resulted in strong sales of generic and private label products as contributing factors in the drugstore chain’s fourth-quarter results. Rite Aid reports earnings available to shareholders of $53.3 million for the quarter ending Feb. 28, 2004, compared to a loss of $8.3 million the prior year. Revenues for the quarter were $4.4 billion vs. year-ago revenues of $4.1 billion. The chain also said that during the quarter it opened two new stores, acquired one, remodeled 17, relocated three and closed seven.
Cott Corp., Toronto, announces record sales and earnings for the first quarter ended April 3, 2004. Sales for the period totaled $370.9 million vs. $295.3 million for the prior year, while net earnings rose to $15.4 million from $10.5 the previous year. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Frank E. Weise notes that retailer branded soft drinks are outpacing category growth just as they did in 2003.
Oralabs Holding Corp, Englewood, Colo., which manufactures branded and private label oral care products including breath drops, sprays and lip balm, announces 2003 revenues of $14.1 million.
Supervalu Inc., Minneapolis, reports record results for the 13 weeks ending Feb. 28, 2004. Net sales were $5 billion and net earnings reached $95.6 million, compared to year-ago totals of $4.6 billion and $63.9 million, respectively.
The common stock of John B. Sanfilippo & Son Inc. of Elk Grove Village, Ill., receives a “market perform” rating from William Blair & Co. A Blair analyst says, “Sanfilippo stands apart from its competitors by being the only vertically integrated nut-processing operator in the industry.” The firm also released earnings results for its fiscal third quarter ending March 25, 2004, and said that it expects to take price increases over the next three quarters in order to maintain margins and ensure that they will be able to obtain enough nuts to continue to grow sales.
CoolBrands International, Toronto, reports revenues for the three months ending Feb. 29, 2004, increased to $138.5 million from $57.1 million for the same period last year. Net earnings increased to $12.8 million from $5.2 million.
CVS Corp., Woonsocket, R.I., reports total sales for the 13-week period ending April 3, 2004, were $6.82 billion, an increase of 8.0 percent compared to 2003. Same store sales increased 6.4 percent over the prior year.
Preliminary results from Kline & Co.’s, Little Falls, N.J., annual “Non-prescription Drugs USA” market analysis show that sales of over-the-counter medications at the manufacturer level increased from $16.7 billion to $17.5 billion. Kline reports that among the factors that contributed to the strong sales momentum were the launch of private label loratadine products and the Rx-to-OTC switches of Claritin and Prilosec OTC. Topical analgesics and home diagnostic test kits also showed solid growth.
Bensur Advertising of Erie, Pa., changes its name to Bensur Creative Marketing Group to reflect its assuming a broader marketing role for many of its clients. A recent report from IHL Consulting Group, Franklin, Tenn., predicts that self-checkout systems will nearly double in 2004 and estimates that 95 percent of the supermarket chains in North America will have some degree of self-checkout by 2006.
Nakano Foods, a Mount Prospect, Ill., producer of vinegars and condiments, announced plans to change its name to Mizkan Americas Inc. The name change coincides with its parent company name change from Mizkan Americas to Mizkah Group in order to better represent its overall global strategy and leadership position as the company moves into new categories. Mizkan America’s strategy includes a significant investment in new product development in the branded and private label arenas, the company says. Currently it produces 85 percent of the country’s private label vinegar.