FINANCE

Loblaw-Shoppers Drug Mart deal approved; Loblaw to close 18 stores

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Loblaw Cos. Ltd.’s acquisition of Shoppers Drug Mart Corp. has been approved by Canada’s Competition Bureau. The $12.4 billion (US$11 billion) deal is expected to close on March 28.

To win approval from the Competition Bureau, Loblaw agreed to sell 18 stores and nine in-store pharmacies.

"We are pleased the Competition Bureau has concluded its review of this transaction, and to have its consent to bring these two great Canadian companies together," stated Galen Weston, executive chairman of Loblaw. "This merger uniquely positions Loblaw to meet the most important consumer trends in the country, including urbanization and health and wellness. In doing so, we will continue to deliver more choice, more value, and more convenience to Canadians."

A consent agreement from Canada’s Competition Bureau also includes restrictions on certain Loblaw programs and agreements on the supply of products for retail sale lasting as long as five years from the date of closing the proposed transaction.

"This agreement addresses the most significant negative competitive effects of the merger by ensuring that consumers continue to benefit from competitive prices in the retail sale of drugstore and pharmacy products in Canada,” John Pecman, commissioner of competition, said in a statement. “The Bureau will continue to investigate Loblaw’s programs related to its relationship with suppliers to ensure that Canadian consumers benefit from vigorous competition."

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MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Kantar Media reports double digit increases across retailer coupons in 2013

BY Marianne Wilson

Minneapolis — The distribution of digital coupons on retailers’ websites exploded in 2013, increasing 39.5% over the previous year, according to data released by Marx, a Kantar Media company. The growth of digital coupons was followed by a 25.6% increase in retailer participation in freestanding insert (FSI) coupon promotion pages, and a 12.6% increase in total retailer feature ad pages distributed.

Although total retailer advertising remained flat in 2013 versus 2012, several leading retailers had significant increases in their advertising expenditures including Walmart, Kroger, and Target, according to Marx.

Significant shifts in advertising and promotion activity were observed among leading retailers across the mass, food, drug, and other retail sales channels. For example, Walmart had the greatest levels of actual advertising expenditures and the highest level of participation in retailer FSI promotion pages in 2013, increasing their activity in these areas 32.9% and 30.8% respectively.

Walmart also benefited from a 25.2% increase in digital coupon activity on Walmart.com and a 43.7% increase in retail feature ad pages distributed in 2013. However, Target kept pace with Walmart by also driving double digit increases across all four of these tactics in 2013.

The three leading retailers in the drug sector all decreased their advertising activity in 2013. CVS had the greatest decrease in retailer advertising among the three leading Drug retailers with a 32.2% decrease.

CVS also decreased retailer FSI coupon participation by 37.3% and retail feature ad activity by 9.3%, with digital coupon support on CVS.com receiving the only increase among these tactics, up 10.2%in 2013.

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STORE SPACES

Mexico’s Tiendas Soriana in Latin America’s biggest distributed solar deal

BY Marianne Wilson

Monterrey, Mexico — Tiendas Soriana S.A. de C.V., Mexico’s second largest retail company, and Hanwha Q CELLS, a leading full-service solar power companies, announced a 20-year power purchase agreement for 31 megawatts (MW) of photovoltaic (PV) solar power at 120 retail locations across Mexico that will create significant long-term energy savings for Soriana. Soriana operates more than 640 grocery and department stores.

Hanwha Q CELLS will partner with Mexican developer and construction company ILIOSS to install rooftop and carport systems in Soriana’s stores in Mexico City and the states of Mexico, Jalisco, Querétaro and 12 others. Soriana will reduce a significant portion of their energy demand by using onsite solar power while fixing its long-term energy cost.

Hanwha Q CELLS will finance all 31 MW.

Hanwha Q CELLS and ILIOSS have already begun construction on the first seven solar systems in Baja California Sur, which will feature more than 12,000 high-efficiency, German engineered Q CELLS Q.PRO-G3 250 W panels to provide approximately 3.05 megawatts of combined generation capacity. Construction on all 120 sites is expected to be completed by early 2015.

“With this association Hanwha Q CELLS, Soriana and ILIOSS join forces to provide the most advanced technology to obtain clean energy at preferential costs. This project allows Soriana to meet both its sustainability and cost saving goals” said Aurelio Adán, CFO of Soriana.

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