FINANCE

Ahold reports positive Q4, full-year results

BY Allison Cerra

Amstersdam — Ahold experienced several bright spots during its fourth quarter and full year, the Dutch-based supermarket company said.

Fourth-quarter net sales totaled $9.4 billion, a 4.5% increase above the year-ago period, while net sales for the year increased by 2.5% to $39.1 billion.

For its U.S. subsidiary, which includes such banners as Stop & Shop and Giant-Landover, Ahold said Ahold USA garnered $5.9 billion in fourth-quarter net sales, which were 5% above the year-ago period. Similarly, identical-store sales and comparable-store sales increased 3.9% and 4.2%, respectively. For the full year, net sales totaled $25.1 billion, marking a 6.6% boost over 2010, while identical-store sales and comparable-store sales most experienced positive gains of 4.9% and 5.1%, respectively.

"We are pleased to have delivered another solid performance over the quarter, growing sales and market share in the United States and the Netherlands," the company said. "We continue to be well positioned in challenging market conditions with customers remaining cautious in their spending."

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STORE SPACES

Walgreens unveils newly renovated stores in Indianapolis

BY Allison Cerra

Deerfield, Ill. — Walgreens has transformed 68 locations in the Indianapolis market into health and daily living destinations.

The drug store chain hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday at a store located on 16th and Meridian in Indianapolis. On hand at the ceremony were Walgreens president and CEO Greg Wasson, former Indianpolis Colts coach Tony Dungy and Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind.

The stores are part of Walgreens’ pilot program that launched last year in Chicago.

“Our new health and daily living stores help people live well, stay well and get well,” Wasson said. “At the core of this approach is our effort to bring the pharmacist out from behind the counter so they can provide more counseling to patients, offer clinical services and answer questions. By advancing the role of the community pharmacist in this way, we believe we can create better health outcomes, prevent hospitalizations and save money for patients, employers, insurers and the health care system.”

The stores now tout the following innovations:

  • A pharmacist located in front of the pharmacy to offer greater opportunity for patient interaction/consultation and such healthcare services as vaccinations and health testing;
  • Health Guides: Walgreens staff members who are armed with an iPad and are available to answer product and service questions, help customers navigate the store and their healthcare options and sign up for events. Select stores also have a Health Corner space to host individual or group health and wellness community events;
  • Fresh food, including fruits and vegetables, meats, prepared salads, sandwiches, wraps, take-and-bake pizzas and other on-the-go meal options; and
  • An enhanced beauty department display, including one store with a Look Boutique featuring dozens of prestige and niche cosmetic, skin care and hair care brands.

In line with the store openings, Walgreens also announced that it has added six Take Care Clinics in Indianapolis, bringing the total number of Take Care Clinics to 14 in the area. The company noted that board-certified family nurse practitioners and physician assistants at Take Care Clinics treat patients ages 18 months and older for common illnesses, offer preventive services such as vaccines and physicals and are licensed to write prescriptions, when necessary, that can be filled at the patient’s pharmacy of choice.

Earlier this month, Walgreens opened its Chicago flagship store, which included a variety of premium offerings.

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News

Staples gives small business owners advertising boost

BY CSA STAFF

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. — Staples announced that it is offering small business owners the chance to win up to $50,000 in free television advertising in their home market through its “Give Your Small Business the Push It Needs” contest.

“With more than 25 years of experience working with our core small business customers, we know that investing in marketing to grow a small business is essential, yet many do not have the money to do so,” said John Giusti, VP small business marketing at Staples. “Staples wanted to do something unique to support small businesses in their local markets. The ‘Give Your Small Business the Push It Needs’ contest will help small businesses achieve their business goals in 2012 by providing an advertising boost to help their bottom lines.”

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