California seeks to ban free, single-use carryout bags in retail
New York City The California State Assembly on Wednesday narrowly approved a bill would make California the first state in the nation to ban single-use plastic and paper bags from being handed out free of charge at supermarkets, drug stores, convenience stores and liquor stores.
The proposed law would apply to supermarkets, chain pharmacies and other large grocery retailers beginning Jan. 1, 2012, and at convenience stores, neighborhood markets and liquor stores beginning July 1, 2013.
The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration. It is being supported by the California Grocers Association.
“AB 1998 [the number of the bill] creates a uniform, statewide standard to help level the playing field among food retailers,” said California Grocers Association president Ronald Fong. “It addresses the issue of single-use carryout bags across all California jurisdictions and provides the most environmental gain with the least competitive disruption for retailers.”
Under the new legislation, shoppers who don’t bring their own bags to the store would have to purchase paper bags (made of at least 40% recycled material) or reusable totes from the store.
The statewide ban would be the nation’s first. It now moves on to the Senate. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has said that he supports it.
Some 19 billion bags a year are used by California’s 38 million people. According to the bill’s the sponsor, Assemblywoman Julia Brownley, the state spends $25 million annually to collect and bury a portion of them.
China and Bangladesh already have plastic bag bans in place, and the United Nations has called for the bans to go global. North Carolina has banned plastic bags on its Outer Banks.
Michaels comps down for the quarter
IRVING, Texas Michaels Stores reported that total sales for the quarter were $847 million, a 1% increase from fiscal 2007 first quarter sales of $839 million. Same-store sales for the comparable 13-week period decreased 2.9%.
Ceo, Brian Cornell, said, “While our overall comps for the first quarter declined 2.9%, we were very encouraged with the sales of our kids and specialty craft categories, scrapbooking and frame and art supplies. Sales in April showed a reversal of trend with same-store sales up 3.1% on a strong increase in transactions. This positive sales and transaction performance gives us confidence that our new marketing and merchandising programs are connecting with our Michaels customers.”
For fiscal 2008, the company expects same-store sales growth to be approximately flat given the current economic environment.
Kirkland’s 1Q sales up 2.1%
JACKSON, Tenn. Kirkland’s reported that net sales for the first quarter ended May 3 increased 2.1% to $84.1 million from $82.3 million for the first quarter ended May 5, 2007. Comparable-store sales for the first quarter of fiscal 2008 increased 4.3% compared with an 18.8% comparable-stores sales decrease in the first quarter of fiscal 2007.
The company reported a net loss of $2.6 million, or 13 cents per diluted share, for the 13-week period ended May 3, 2008, compared with a net loss of $7.5 million, or 38 cents per diluted share, in the 13-week period ended May 5, 2007.
Robert Alderson, Kirkland’s president and ceo, said, “The first quarter results reflect strong merchandising execution and the benefits of aggressive financial initiatives that have reduced our operating costs, improved cash flow and strengthened our liquidity. During the quarter, we experienced improved customer conversions as shoppers have reacted very favorably to our merchandise mix. The positive comparable-store sales and trimming of unproductive stores led to leveraging of occupancy and distribution costs. Combined with an improvement in merchandise margin and a year-over-year reduction in operating costs of almost $5 million, we were able to post a significant improvement in our pre-tax results.