FINANCE

BJ’s accepts food stamps chainwide

BY CSA STAFF

Natick, Mass. BJ’s Wholesale Club said Tuesday that it will now accept government-issued food-stamp benefits via Electronic Benefit Transfer payments at all 180 club locations. Previously, the payment option was only available at 30 BJ’s clubs.

Due to the financial strain caused by the economy, there has been a sharp increase of EBT payments at these locations. Based on this activity, and growing requests from members, the chain decided to expand food-stamp acceptance chainwide. Besides EBT, BJ’s also accepts cash, checks, credit and debit cards at all clubs.

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The bleeding has slowed

BY CSA STAFF

The market may have reacted favorably last week to news that Target reported a better-than-expected 6.3% decline in March same-store sales, but don’t break out the champagne just yet. The company wisely planned conservatively for March, given discouraging economic conditions and the shifting of Easter sales into April with the late arrival of the holiday. In essence, the company under-promised and over-delivered, to the extent that a same-store sales decline of 6.3% on top of a prior-year same-store sales declined of 4.4% can be regarded as over-delivering.

“Our guests continue to be cautious, but we have begun to see encouraging signs in the operating results of both of our business segments,” said Target chairman, president and CEO Gregg Steinhafel. “In light of the Easter shift and recent trends, we expect our April reported comparable-store sales results to be essentially flat to last year.”

Relative strength was seen in non-discretionary categories such as food, household product, baby and health care, while home and apparel continues to suffer with declining sales. When those categories begin to show some strength and Target reports positive monthly same-store sales a celebration will be in order, but don’t be fooled by April’s results, where the real possibility exists for the company to exceed its guidance given the cautious approach to its sales outlook.

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New leadership named at Stop & Shop

BY CSA STAFF

QUINCY, Mass. Stop & Shop Supermarket has named Paula Price as CFO and Paula Labian as EVP human resources.

As CFO, Price will be responsible for the Finance, Strategy and Planning, and IT functions at Stop & Shop and Giant Food. Most recently, she served as SVP, Controller and Chief Accounting Officer for CVS/Caremark.

As EVP human resources, Paula Labian will play a key role in positioning Stop & Shop and Giant Food for the future. For the past six years, she served as chief human resources officer (CHRO) and global VP human resources for Whole Foods Market.

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