FINANCE

First Data report: October prepaid card spend slowed

BY CSA STAFF

Atlanta — A report released Monday by payment solutions provider First Data Corp. found that year-over-year October dollar volume growth of activations of closed-loop prepaid cards was 2.7%, down from 8.9% year-over-year growth in September.

The First Data SpendTrend Closed-Loop Prepaid Cards analysis tracks U.S. same-merchant activations, redemptions and reloads of merchant-branded prepaid cards, including spending, gift, incentive and promotional cards.

Activation transaction growth was 11.7% in October, a slight increase from September’s growth of 10.7%. As the holiday season started early, there was an increase in the number of consumers purchasing gift cards in October.

Overall dollar volume growth of reloads was 25.2%, an increase from September’s growth of 20.7%. October’s reload transaction growth was 34.4%, compared with September’s growth of 30.4%, as consumers continued to use their gift cards for purchases.

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FINANCE

Kroger to spend $15 million on store renovations

BY CSA STAFF

Cincinnati — A Monday report by the Cincinnati Business Courier said that Kroger Co. is planning to spend about $15 million to renovate four stores in the Cincinnati area in 2011.

The grocery retailer said it plans to renovate stores in Westwood, Madeira and Montgomery, Ohio, as well as a store in Cold Spring, Ky.

The Westwood and Montgomery locations are scheduled for renovation in the first half of 2011, while Kroger is still finalizing the renovation plans for the Madeira and Cold Spring stores.

Kroger spokesperson Rachel Betzler said plans are still being finalized for the store renovations, which will be limited to interior upgrades and will not include expansions, she said.

Reece-Campbell will perform the renovation work on the Westwood and Montgomery locations, according to the report.

In addition to the four planned renovations, Kroger is working to start demolition of its Corryville, Ohio, store to make way for a new store. Betzler said Kroger is working on a contract with Covington, Ohio-based Anchor Properties, which owns University Plaza, to start redevelopment.

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FINANCE

Delhaize stake lifted by AllianceBernstein past 5%

BY CSA STAFF

Brussels, Belgium — Delhaize Group announced on Monday that AllianceBernstein LP lifted its voting stake in the food retailer to 5.04%.

The New York asset manager, a member of France’s AXA group, now holds 5.11 million Delhaize shares, compared with 3.73 million as of Oct. 5, Delhaize reported.

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