OPERATIONS

Meijer expands digital coupon initiative

BY Dan Berthiaume

Grand Rapids, Mich. — Meijer is expanding its mPerks digital coupon program to include pharmacy purchases, allowing customers to earn $10 off their total shopping purchase, 5% off total grocery and health-and-beauty purchases or 50 cents off per gallon of Meijer gas for every five eligible prescriptions filled. Customers can also hang onto their rewards and keep filling prescriptions to earn double rewards, saving as much as $1 per gallon on gas or $20 off their next shopping visit.

Meijer launched mPerks in the fall of 2010 as a faster, easier way for customers to clip coupons. The retailer says as many as 25,000 customers sign up for the free online program, which has a redemption rate up to four times the national average.

"Pharmacy rewards is just the latest way we go beyond offering everyday low prices and weekly specials to help our customers save money," said Michael Ross, VP of customer marketing and emerging technology. "We are excited to expand mPerks for our 1.5 million subscribers, and hope they enjoy personalizing their savings even more when they checkout."

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OPERATIONS

Dollarama COO takes top role at 99 Cents Only Stores

BY Dan Berthiaume

City of Commerce, Calif. — Stephane Gonthier, COO of Canadian dollar store chain Dollarama Inc., is leaving that company to take the role of president and CEO at 99 Cents Only Stores. Gonthier will remain with Dollarama during a transitionary period and Richard Anicetti, interim CEO of 99 Cents Only, will return to his position as board member once Gonthier arrives.

Prior to joining Dollarama in 2007, Gonthier spent nine years in different executive positions at Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc, operator of the Circle K convenience store chain. Gonthier’s final role there was senior VP, Eastern North America.

“The growth of 99 Cents Only Stores has been outstanding for the past several quarters and we are excited to bring on Stéphane as our president and CEO to help us capitalize on our recent accomplishments and guide the company toward long-term success as a leader in the extreme-value category,” said David Kaplan, chairman of the board and senior partner of Ares Management LLC, operator of 99 Cents Only.

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REAL ESTATE

Report: Wal-Mart unit eyes Africa expansion

BY Dan Berthiaume

Bentonville, Ark. – Wal-Mart’s South African subsidiary Massmart Holdings Ltd. is reportedly considering expanding into Kenya. According to an article in Bloomberg, Kenyan news outlets are reporting that Massmart executives have met with representatives of major Kenyan retail chains including Naivas Supermarket Ltd.

Naivas did not return phone calls from Bloomberg, while two other leading Kenyan retailers, Nakumatt Holdings Ltd. and Tuskys, have publicly denied they are considering selling. Wal-Mart CEO Grant Pattison acknowledged Wal-Mart’s interest in Kenya in an email to Bloomberg but declined to comment on any specific reports.

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