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Longs Rejects Walgreen Co. Offer

BY CSA STAFF

Walnut Creek, Calif. Longs Drug Stores Corp. on Wednesday said it will not enter into discussions with Walgreen Co. about its $2.8 billion bid for the drugstore operator.

Walgreen made a $75-per-share offer for Longs on Friday, hoping to unseat CVS Caremark Corp.’s previous bid of $71.50 per share, worth about $2.7 billion.

CVS reaffirmed its offer on Sunday and extended the deadline to Oct. 15.

In a letter to Walgreen, Longs said Walgreen has “not presented a clear roadmap to completion,” given the regulatory risks of the deal and noted that the bid is nonbinding and not financed.

Longs said its board continues to recommend the CVS offer to stockholders.

“We’re disappointed with the refusal of the Longs board to discuss our superior proposal,” Walgreen representative Michael Polzin told the Associated Press. “Longs stockholders and the marketplace as a whole have demonstrated strong support for a transparent-end fair process that more fully values the company. We remain committed to pursuing our proposal which we believe creates superior value for our respective stockholders.”

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Movado founder to retire in 2009

BY CSA STAFF

PARAMUS, N.J. Movado Group announced that company founder Gedalio Grinberg plans to retire as chairman of the board at the end of fiscal 2009 and will remain on the board with the title of founder and chairman emeritus. Efraim Grinberg, who joined the company in 1980, will be named chairman and will also continue to serve as president and ceo.

Gedalio Grinberg, Chairman of Movado Group, stated, “I’m proud of all that our company has accomplished with the help of our employees and the confidence of our investors. After establishing a $30 million plus luxury watch business as a distributor in North America with two brands, our company strategically shifted its focus onto designing, manufacturing and distributing our own brands and as a licensee — acquiring Concord in 1970, reviving an icon of modernism in Movado, launching ESQ in 1993, expanding into the licensed watch category, and most recently acquiring Ebel.”

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Kroger reports 2Q earnings growth

BY CSA STAFF

CINCINNATI Kroger reported total sales of $18.1 billion for the second quarter ended Aug. 16, an increase of 11.9% over the same period last year. Identical-supermarket sales increased 9.7% with fuel and 4.7% without fuel compared with the same quarter last year.

Net earnings in the second quarter totaled $276.5 million, or 42 cents per diluted share. Net earnings in the same period last year were $267.3 million, or 38 cents per diluted share.

Based on Kroger’s year-to-date results and management’s outlook for the remainder of the fiscal year, the company raised the low end of its range for annual identical sales guidance to 4.5%. Kroger now expects identical sales growth of 4.5% to 5.5%, excluding fuel, for fiscal 2008.

The company confirmed its fiscal 2008 earnings guidance of $1.85 to $1.90 per diluted share. This range reflects 9% to 12% growth over fiscal 2007 earnings of $1.69 per diluted share. Kroger expects that its full-year earnings per share growth will be driven by a combination of strong identical sales, a flat to slightly improved operating margin, excluding fuel, and fewer shares outstanding. Kroger’s dividend yield of more than 1% further enhances shareholder return.

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