Albertson’s to Put Itself Up for Sale
Boise, Idaho, The nation’s second-largest supermarket chain has announced that it is considering putting itself up for sale. Albertson’s cited lagging sales as the reason.
In June, Albertson’s reported 1Q earnings nearly tripled due to an acquisition and to recovery of the southern California market following a major labor dispute involving 59,000 supermarket workers. But analysts say the company’s underlying sales are still not as strong as its main competitors, among them Kroger Co.
According to the company, other “strategic alternatives” may be considered as well. Albertsons’ board has retained Goldman Sachs & Co. and Blackstone Group as financial advisors.
Lowe’s to Fund Expansion
Mooresville, N.C., Home improvement retailer Lowe’s has announced that it will invest about $150 million to expand its distribution network and improve its ability to supply stores.
. A new regional distribution center in Lebanon, Ore., will be built, and the company has announced plans to expand three existing centers in Valdosta, Ga., Statesville, N.C., and North Vernon, Ind.
The retailer’s expansion also includes opening 150 new stores in fiscal 2005 and up to 160 stores in fiscal 2006. Lowe’s distribution network currently includes 11 regional distribution centers nationwide.
Solid August for Many Retailers
New York City, Soaring gas prices did not deter consumers from shopping in August. A diverse group of retailers, including Costco Wholesale Corp., Wet Seal Inc., Neiman Marcus, J.C. Penney Co. and Nordstrom, reported strong results for the month. Although many retailers beat Wall Street expectations, Wal-Mart’s sales came in slightly below analysts’ estimates as low-income shoppers felt the sting of higher energy costs.
Not all retailers, however, enjoyed a solid August. Limited Brands Inc. and Gap Inc. both reported sales drops. Limited suffered a 3% drop in same-store sales for the month, while Gap Inc.’s same-store sales were down 9%.
As for September, the impact of Katrina is still unclear, but worries are mounting that the fallout will slow what has been a steadily growing economy and reverse the steady gain in job gains. The latest news from the Labor Department on job claims, announced today, was not encouraging. The government said the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose by 3,000 last week to a seven-week high of 320,000. Those claims are expected to rise significantly in the week ahead as laid-off workers in New Orleans and other areas hit by Hurricane Katrina file claims.