Buehler Foods Files for Chapter 11
Jasper, Ind., Buehler Foods Inc. has filed for bankruptcy protection at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Evansville, Ind. The company has been hit with revenue losses of more than $7 million due to unexpected delays in assuming control of 16 Winn-Dixie grocery stores it bought last year, according to reports.
The company owes between $50 and $200 million to more than 200 creditors, according to its bankruptcy petition. Buehler Foods, which owns more than 60 grocery stores in five states under the Buehler’s Market and Buy-Low banners, will continue to operate its stores as it reorganizes. Company CEO David Buehler said he expects the debt restructuring to be completed by the end of the year, reports say.
Thursday A.M. Earnings Roundup
• Woonsocket, R.I.-based CVS Corp. posted an 18% rise in profits for the first quarter, to $286.2 million, or 69? a share, from $241 million, or 59? a share, a year ago. Sales rose 35% to $9.18 billion, from $6.82 billion in the year-ago period. Comp-store sales increased 8.2%., with pharmacy same-store sales rising 8.8% and front-end same-store sales increasing 6.9%.
• Blockbuster Inc. swung to a loss for the first quarter, with earnings totaling $57.5 million, or 31? a share, compared with earnings of $114.4 million, or 63? a share, a year ago. Revenue for the three months ended March 31 increased 3% to $1.55 billion from $1.5 billion last year for the Dallas-based company. The world’s largest video-rental chain attributed the losses to elevated costs from the launch of the “No Late Fees” program, growth of Blockbuster Online, and charges related to efforts to acquire Hollywood Entertainment.
• Chesapeake, Va.-based Dollar Tree Stores, Inc. reported total sales for its first quarter of $749.1 million, a 5.5% increase compared to $710.3 million in the same period last year. Comp-store sales declined 3.7% for the quarter for the nation’s largest dollar store chain.
• Michaels Stores Inc. reported total sales for the first quarter of $821 million, up 13.1% over last year’s $725.9 million. Comp-store sales rose 7.8% for the Irving, Texas-based arts-and-crafts retailer.
• Cost Plus, Inc. announced sales for the first quarter ended April 30, 2005 of $200 million, a 7.7% increase from $185.7 million for the first quarter ended May 1, 2004. Comp-store sales for the quarter decreased 1.9% for the Oakland, Calif.-based retailer.
ICSC: Retail Comps Increase 2.2% in April
New York City, There was a chill in the air across much of the retail landscape country in April. Part of it was the weather, and part of it was the chilling effect of high gas prices on retail spending. Plus, retail sales were depressed by an unusual calendar shift that pushed Easter spending into March. Through it all, April same-store sales increased 2.2% on a year-over-year basis, according to the tally from the International Council of Shopping Centers, modestly surpassing expectations.
Giant Wal-Mart Stores posted a mere 0.1% comparable store sales growth at its Wal-Mart Division and 0.9% overall, while rival Target Corp. posted a slightly better 1.3% comp-store gain.
High-flying apparel specialty chains continuted to show stellar same-store sales increases: bebe, 31.2%, American Eagle, 20.0%, Abercrombie & Fitch, 15.0%, and Chico’s FAS, 15.5%. Neiman Marcus paced the luxury department store field with 14.2% comps.
And the wholesale club sector performed well. Coscto comps increased 8.0% and BJ’s Wholeslae comps increased 8.4%.
“The results in April were uneven, but there were clear pockets of strength,” said Michael Niemira, ICSC’s chief economist and director of research.