FINANCE

Alimentation Couche-Tard profit leaps nearly 30% in Q3

BY CSA STAFF

Laval, QC — Canadian c-store operator Alimentation Couche-Tard reported Thursday that net income for its fiscal third quarter rose 29.6% to $71 million, compared with $54.8 million in the year-ago period.

Revenues rose 13.7% to $5.6 billion. Same-store merchandise sales were up 3.9% in the United States and 0.4% in Canada.

Alimentation Couche-Tard operates a network of 5,874 convenience stores in the United States and Canada.

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OPERATIONS

Walmart rolls out ‘Pick Up Today’ program nationally

BY CSA STAFF

Bentonville, Ark. — Wal-Mart Stores announced Thursday that it will launch a national rollout of its “Pick Up Today” program later in March, expanding its multichannel offerings to allow shoppers to purchase items online and receive free same-day pickup at a local Walmart store.

“Walmart is uniquely positioned to combine the power of e-commerce with our national retail footprint to offer a leading, multichannel experience that delivers the best savings and convenience to our customers,” said Steve Nave, senior VP and general manager of Walmart.com.

According to Walmart, the service is expected to be available in nearly 3,600 stores by June.

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REAL ESTATE

Wal-Mart plans to add hundreds of smaller stores in next three years

BY CSA STAFF

Bentonville, Ark. — Wal-Mart Stores, in a presentation at a Bank of America Merrill Lynch conference on Thursday, announced that it would open “hundreds” of smaller-format stores over the next three years.

According to Bill Simon, president and CEO of Wal-Mart U.S., the ramped-up development could be augmented by some acquisition activity, although he didn’t elaborate on specifics.

The retailer had said it planned to open 30 to 40 smaller units this year in rural and urban areas and that there were “thousands” of potential sites in the U.S. Earlier, Wal-Mart announced it would build its first three smaller-format Express stores, the first of which is slated to open on Chicago’s South Side this summer.

The new stores will include mid-sized Neighborhood Market locations of 30,000-60,000 sq. ft. and the rest will be smaller, Simon said at the investor conference. The Neighborhood Market concept will be renamed “Walmart Market.”

Simon said the retailer will introduce more stores on university campuses, and that there are “there are hundreds, if not thousands of opportunities in the U.S.” for the smaller-format stores.

Simon also announced at the conference that he saw business trends improving in the United States for the retailer, but that it was too early to revise its forecasts upward.

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