OPERATIONS

Jain leaves Wal-Mart India

BY Dan Berthiaume

Bentonville, Ark. – Raj Jain, who has overseen Wal-Mart’s India unit since 2007, has left his position. Neither Wal-Mart nor Jain has made any public statement on his departure. Wal-Mart has named Ramnik Narsey as interim head of its Indian operations. Narsey, former chairman and CEO of Woolworth’s India, joined Wal-Mart in May.

"We remain optimistic about our business in India and look forward to our future in India under Ramnik’s leadership," Scott Price, president and CEO for Wal-Mart Asia, said in an official statement.

Wal-Mart has been running stores in India since 2009 and works with local joint venture partner Bharti Enterprises.

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REAL ESTATE

Lumber Liquidators opens 300th store

BY Dan Berthiaume

Toano Va. – Lumber Liquidators has opened its 300th store. The store, located in Las Vegas, is the company’s third in Nevada and second in Las Vegas. It also features the retailer’s new “store of the future” format that offers an expanded store showroom of approximately 1,600 sq. ft., including a broader assortment of flooring options, moldings and accessories.

"My vision for Lumber Liquidators has always been to offer customers a better quality floor at a lower price," said Tom Sullivan, chairman and founder of Lumber Liquidators. "That sounds simple but required a lot of hard work to get right. We removed the middleman from our business model, went direct to mills to source our flooring and today are able to offer our customers a product assortment of more than 300 flooring varieties. I am humbled by what Lumber Liquidators has become and thank every one of our employees who have helped the company grow into the business it is today and who continue to be focused on delivering the best service and product possible to our customers."

To date in 2013, Lumber Liquidators has opened 12 new stores and expects to open a total of 25 to 35 stores by year-end, all in its "store of the future" format.

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News

New and established products bolster General Mills Q4, fiscal 2013 results

BY CSA STAFF

MINNEAPOLIS — General Mills saw growth for the fourth quarter and full fiscal year ended May 26, thanks to new product offerings as well as established product lines.

The company reported net sales of $17.8 billion for fiscal 2013, an increase of 7% from 16.7 billion in fiscal 2012.

Products making the strongest contributions to U.S. retail segment net sales growth in 2013 included new items, such as Honey Nut Cheerios Medley Crunch cereal, Yoplait Greek 100 calorie yogurt and Nature Valley Protein Bars, along with established brands including Lucky Charms cereal, Progresso ready-to-serve soups, Fiber One snack bars, Totino’s frozen snacks and Pillsbury refrigerated baked goods.

For the international segment, double-digit growth by Haagen Dazs ice cream and Wanchai Ferry frozen dim sum in China, and the newly acquired Yoki and Kitano brands in Brazil, led the overall sales increase. In the Bakeries and Foodservice segment, items including Chex Mix snack varieties, Pillsbury heat-and-serve breakfast items and Yoplait Parfait Pro Greek yogurt made strong contributions to 2013 sales.

"Our 2013 results reflect good growth from established product lines and important contributions from new businesses added during the year,” said chairman and CEO Ken Powell. “Each of our three operating segments posted profit growth. Our cash flow from operating activities rose 22%, and we returned nearly $1.9 billion in cash to shareholders through dividends and share repurchase activity. In addition, we exited the year with momentum that enabled us to finish 2013 a bit better than our original estimates."

Net sales for the fourth quarter rose 8% to $4.4 billion from $4 billion for the quarter last year, with pound volume up 11%. New businesses contributed 7 points of the net sales growth. Excluding new businesses, net sales grew 1%, including 2 points of pound volume growth. Net earnings attributable to General Mills increased 13% to $366 million from $325.4 for the quarter last year.

"Our business plans for 2014 include strong levels of innovation on established product lines and a high-quality lineup of new products," Powell said regarding the company’s outlook. "We also will have three months of incremental contribution from Yoki and Yoplait Canada. In total, we expect our net sales to grow at a low single-digit rate in 2014 to exceed $18 billion."

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