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Albertson’s agrees to buy United Family

BY Dan Berthiaume

Boise, Idaho – Albertson’s Supermarkets has agreed to purchase grocery store and c-store operator The United Family. Terms of the transaction have not been released.

Albertson’s currently operates more than 600 stores in 16 states. United currently operates 50 traditional, specialty and Hispanic grocery stores under its United Supermarkets, Market Street and Amigos banners, and seven convenience stores and 26 fuel centers under its United Express banner, all in Texas. United also operates two divisions, R.C. Taylor Distributing and Praters, and one wholly owned subsidiary, Llano Logistics, which operates the company’s two distribution centers in Lubbock and Roanoke, Texas.

“During the past 97 years, the United family and leadership team have done a tremendous job in establishing and perpetuating a remarkable culture of service and commitment to fresh, quality foods throughout their stores,” said Bob Miller, CEO of Albertson’s LLC. “Their commitment to community is unparalleled. Our team feels there is an exceptional opportunity to invest in and grow their brands.”

Upon completion of the transaction, United will operate as a separate business unit under Albertson’s LLC’s corporate structure. Robert Taylor, United’s CEO, will continue to lead the company as president of the United subsidiary, reporting directly to Bob Miller, CEO of Albertson’s LLC. The transaction is expected to be complete by the end of October, subject to customary government approvals.

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Walgreens acquires Kerr Drug chain

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Deerfield, Ill. — Walgreens on Tuesday announced it has acquired North Carolina pharmacy chain Kerr Drug. The purchase of the privately held regional outfit, which generated $381 million in revenue in 2012, includes its 76 retail stores and specialty pharmacy chain.

“The Kerr Drug retail drug stores and specialty pharmacy business are an exceptional addition to the Walgreens family of companies,” said Walgreens president and CEO Greg Wasson. “We are closely aligned on the important task of expanding the healthcare role that community pharmacists can have with their patients, and we share the common goal of stepping out of the traditional drugstore format to create a new experience for our customers.”

“Kerr Drug’s strategy and core principles have always been focused on its unique ability to provide patients access to the most comprehensive and convenient health and wellness offering in the industry," said Anthony Civello, Kerr Drug chairman, president and CEO. "Walgreens is the perfect partner to continue this journey as a patient-oriented company dedicated to expanding the role of the pharmacist as an integral part of health care.”

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. As part of the transaction, which is slated to close later this year, Kerr Drug will maintain ownership of its long-term care pharmacy business.

Until the acquisition closes, Kerr Drug and Walgreens will continue to operate separately. After closing, the acquired Kerr Drug retail drug stores will continue to operate under their current brand in the near term.

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Pep Boys remain cautiously optimistic following Q2 results

BY CSA STAFF

The Pep Boys are remaining cautiously optimistic that there will be an increase in demand for tires this year, following a comparable store sales decrease of 1.3% for the second quarter ended Aug. 3.

Sales for the quarter increased 0.4% to $527.6 million from $525.7 million for the prior-year quarter. The company’s operating profit for the quarter, adjusted to exclude merger-related costs, was $19.4 million as compared to $15.5 million for the second quarter of fiscal 2012.

Net earnings for the quarter were $5.4 million, or $0.10 per share, as compared to $33 million, or $0.61 per share, for the second quarter of fiscal 2012.

“Improved product gross margins drove our 25% improvement in adjusted operating income during the quarter,” said president and CEO Mike Odell. “Our strategically important maintenance and repair services remain steady and grew in customer count, sales and margin rate. Tire sales were down in dollars and units, but grew in gross margin dollars. While not yet realized, we continue to be cautiously optimistic that we will see improving demand for tires this year.”

The expansion of the company’s Service & Tire Centers continues with the acquisition of 17 locations in Southern California in September, bringing its total to 211. Each of the new locations will be converted to the company’s new Road Ahead format, designed with “a more welcoming curb appeal and a comfortable and appealing customer lounge,” according to Odell.

Pep Boys is a leading automotive aftermarket chain with approximately 7,400 service bays in more than 750 locations in 35 states and Puerto Rico. Pep Boys offers name-brand tires; automotive maintenance and repair; parts and expert advice for the Do-It-Yourselfer; commercial auto parts delivery; and fleet maintenance and repair.

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