FINANCE

Bi-Lo in $265 million deal to buy Sweetbay, Harveys and Reid’s from Delhaize

BY Marianne Wilson

Jacksonville, Fla. — Bi-Lo Holdings, parent company of the Bi-Lo and Winn-Dixie grocery store brands, has entered into an agreement to buy three chains from Belgium-based Delhaize Group. Bi-Lo said it would acquire substantially all of the stores in the Sweetbay, Harveys and Reid’s supermarket chains from Delhaize for $265 million in cash.

The deal, which is subject to regulatory approval, includes 72 Sweetbay stores, leases for 10 prior Sweetbay locations, 72 Harveys stores and 11 Reid’s stores, for a total of 165 stores and 10,000 employees throughout the Southeast. Bi-Lo Holdings already operates 686 stores.

"Sweetbay, Harveys and Reid’s are well-recognized and trusted businesses that share our passion for exceptional service," Bi-Lo Holdings president and CEO Randall Onstead said. "We look forward to welcoming the outstanding associates of all three chains to the Bi-Lo Winn-Dixie family."

The transaction is anticipated to close in fourth quarter 2013.

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FINANCE

Chico’s disappoints as Q1 profit slips 4.7%

BY Dan Berthiaume

Fort Myers, Fla. – Chico’s reported a lower-than-expected profit of $51.1 million for the first quarter, excluding non-recurring acquisition and integration costs related to its Boston Proper acquisition, versus a profit of $54 million in year-ago period.

Sales rose 3% to $670.7 million, up 3% from $650.8 million last year. Chico’s, which operates its namesake stores, as well as the Soma Intimates and White House | Black Market chains, attributed much of this boost to the opening of 114 net new stores in the past year.

Same-store sales for the quarter were flat at 9.6%, reflecting an unusually cool spring and the impact of an almost 10% same-store sales increase in the same period last year.

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OPERATIONS

Report: Foot Locker most tweeted about sporting goods/outdoor retailer

BY Marianne Wilson

Hicksville, N.Y. — Foot Locker was the most tweeted about brand with over 50,000 posts, according to GenSent Insights’ 2013 report on Sporting Goods and Outdoor Retailers. This was more than twice the number of tweets the next closest competitors, Dicks Sporting Goods and REI (generated with just under 20,000 posts each.

Foot Locker’s digital and social media strategy includes creating such properties as Sneakerpedia (a hub for sneaker enthusiasts) Kickstagram, (a photo sharing blog) and Foot Locker Unlocked (blogs, games and more).

The chain also maintained a steady stream of twitter mentions by officially sponsoring the NBA’s Foot Locker Three-Point Contest,” congratulating Carmelo Anthony on winning the NBA scoring title, conducting an online poll on whether Michigan or Louisville will win the NCAA championship and announcing the releases and availability of the new Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James shoes.

The leading brands in Online Impact Media Value, a measure of a brand’s online reach, were REI with $3.8 million, followed by Foot Locker at $3.4 million, Dicks Sporting Goods with $2.3 million and Sports Authority at $1.8 million. However, REI’s ranking is skewed by the publicity generated from the appointment of its CEO, Sally Jewell, to Secretary of the Interior by President Obama. The announcement of the nomination alone resulted in over 9,800 online mentions generating $1.8 million of media value in just two days. Over 90% of Foot Locker’s media value was driven by its extensive following on twitter while Dicks Sporting Goods benefited from a steady flow of online chatter from its 520 stores and broad range of products.

In other findings:

  • Cabela’s collaboration with country singer, Luke Bryan, increased twitter traffic by up to eight times its daily average during joint promotions.
  • Sports Authority’s ownership of the naming rights to the stadium for the Denver Broncos (Sports Authority Field at Mile High) helped online mentions rise almost seven fold and generated over $535,000 in media value during the Broncos vs. Ravens playoff game in January.
  • Bass Pro Shops saw online mentions rise almost 10 times its daily average when the stars of the hit cable show Duck Dynasty visited a store during its April 3 episode.

“The combination of Twitter and celebrities or professional athletes provides a natural opportunity to drive online buzz. From promotions to simple congratulatory tweets, the increase in conversations can significantly impact a brands media value, Additionally, associations with professional sports brands can often create ancillary opportunities to be part of the conversation,” said Don Damore, of GenSent Insights.

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