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America reaches for Nestle Waters

BY CSA STAFF

CANTON, Mass. and STAMFORD, Conn. — Nestle Waters North America has signed a five-year contract making it the exclusive water supplier for Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins restaurants nationwide.

"We’re thrilled to be working with Dunkin’ Brands to deliver refreshing hydration options to Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins restaurant customers across the country," said David Hardie, national channel manager, foodservice, Nestle Waters North America. "Water has become the beverage choice for many Americans, and bottled water gives them that option on-the-go. Now, they can enjoy their favorite Nestle Waters’ regional bottled water brand with their sandwich or snack."

Nestle Waters North America’s spring waters can be found at Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins restaurants in the following U.S. geographic regions: Poland Spring in the Northeast; Deer Park in the Mid-Atlantic; Zephyrhills in Florida, Ice Mountain in the Midwest; Ozarka in the South Central states; and Arrowhead in the West.

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Bed Bath & Beyond weathers Sandy

BY CSA STAFF

Third quarter same store sales at Bed Bath & Beyond were negatively affectivd by Hurricane Sandy, but the nation’s leading home good retailer still managed to grow profits.

Sales increased 15.3% to $2.7 billion, largely due to two acquisitions earlier in the year, while same store sales advanced 1.7% and were negatively affected by an estimated .9% due to Sandy. Net income for the third quarter ended November 24, increased 1.8% to $233 million, however, the company managed to grow earnings per share 8.4% to $1.03 from 95 cents the prior year thanks to aggressive share repurchase activity. The company spent $191 million during the third quarter to buy back roughly 3.1 million shares.

The high level of repurchase activity dropped the program’s remaining authorization to $223 million and prompted the board to authorize an additional $2.5 billion for share repurchase activity.

"Our board authorized this new share repurchase program based upon its continued confidence in our company’s long-term growth potential, financial outlook and cash flow generation," said CEO Steven Temares. "It is anticipated that this $2.5 billion share repurchase program will be funded from current cash and future cash flows. That said, our company’s board of directors continues to review our capital structure on an ongoing basis.γ€€In addition to providing value to our shareholders through share repurchase programs, our strong operations should allow us to continue to invest in our infrastructure and maintain our flexibility to take advantage of opportunities as they may arise."

Several opportunities arose earlier this year when Bed Bath & Beyond acquired Linen Holdings in early June and then later the same month bought Cost Plus. The deals boosted the company’s retail footprint and gave the company a total of 1,466 locations. Included in that total are 1,003 Bed Bath & Beyond stores, 264 stores under the names of World Market, Cost Plus World Market, or World Market Stores, 74 stores under the names of Christmas Tree Shops or andThat!, 78 buybuy BABY stores and 47 stores under the names of Harmon or Harmon Face Values.

Despite the company’s sizable footprint, co-founder and co-chairman Leonard Feinstein reiterated the company’s long term growth prospects.

"We believe that throughout the United States and Canada, there is an opportunity to operate in excess of 1,300 Bed Bath & Beyond stores, as well as grow our World Market, Christmas Tree Shops and buybuy BABY concepts from coast to coast," Feinstein said. "Additionally, we will continue to open Harmon Face Values stores and place health and beauty care offerings in selected stores, as well as specialty food and beverage departments in selected Bed Bath & Beyond stores, most recently in Schaumburg, Illinois and Tysons Corner, Virginia. We remain committed to and are excited about the continued growth of all merchandise categories."

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Walmart strenghtens legal, compliance efforts

BY CSA STAFF

Karen Roberts was named EVP and general counsel for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. on Thursday amid the retailer’s ongoing investigation in possible violations of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Roberts, 42, is a 17 year Walmart veteran who most recently served as EVP and president of Walmart Realty for Walmart U.S.. However, prior to that, she held the position of SVP and chief compliance officerfor Walmart U.S. where she oversaw the establishment of food and product safety programs and a recycling program.

In her new capacity she will report to EVP and corporate secretary Jeff Gearhart, 48, effective at the beginning of the company’s new fiscal year on February 1, 2013. Her responsibilities will include management of Walmart’s legal department and all legal matters affecting the company in its domestic and international markets, according to Walmart. Meanwhile, Gearhart will maintain oversight for the legal function in addition to his newly expanded responsibilities for Walmart’s compliance, ethics and investigations teams as part of the company’s steps to align the functions and further strengthen its global compliance efforts.

"Karen’s humility, transparency and collaboration embody the leadership qualities we look for at Walmart," said Gearhart. "She is an extremely talented professional whose integrity, breadth of experience, and knowledge of Walmart make her uniquely qualified for this important role. Karen’s legal background and previous responsibilities directing our U.S. compliance and real estate functions provide an important perspective for overseeing the complex legal issues we deal with every day in our business."

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