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Panera Bread Q4 Profit Climbs

BY CSA STAFF

St. Louis Panera Bread Co. said its fiscal fourth-quarter profit grew 43%, helped by a calendar shift as it raised prices and opened new stores.

The company said net income climbed to $25.5 million from $17.8 million last year. Sales rose 19% to $357.8 million from $300.8 million, while same-store sales rose 2.7% during the quarter.

Panera opened 32 stores during the quarter.

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Kmart commits to affordable footwear

BY CSA STAFF

Kmart stores nationwide this month began offering a new line of Fisher-Price branded kids footwear from the Brown Shoe Co. The line includes nine styles for boys and girls with additional styles to be added this fall. The launch will be supported by a print, online and retail marketing campaign that includes national consumer advertising and significant exposure in Kmart circulars and a landing page on the retailer’s Web site. In-store retail support at Kmart will include signage, cross promotions, endcaps, apparel outposts, impact centers and in-store radio spots, according to the companies.

“We are very excited to launch our very first footwear collection at Kmart stores,” said Andrew Chi, director of marketing, Fisher-Price Consumer Products, a division of Mattel. “Through our strong collaboration with Kmart and Brown Shoe, we believe we’ve provided a well-rounded, fashionable collection that moms will love, and will be tremendously successful at retail.”

“We think Fisher-Price footwear will resonate well with our customers,” said Nick Grayston, senior VP and president of footwear at Kmart.  “Our customers respond to quality products at a good value and that’s what Fisher-Price and Brown Shoe have provided.  We look forward to a long and productive relationship with Fisher-Price beyond the toy aisle.”

According to the companies, one innovative aspect of the product line is the use of Fit Zone technology that enables parents to gauge their child’s shoe size without a try-on by holding the child’s foot against the shoe bottom and judging the toe placement in one of Fit Zone’s three bands. A middle band designates the proper position for a child’s longest toe and indicates an ideal fit. If a child’s toe extends into the band above the Fit Zone, the shoe is too small. If the toe only reaches the band below the Fit Zone, the shoe is too big. The feature is said to make the shoe buying experience easier for parents, fun for kids, and, with less need for try-ons it should make it easier for Kmart to keep the footwear department orderly.

“While we always encourage parents to try shoes on their kids before purchasing, Fit Zone eliminates needless try-ons of shoes that are obviously the wrong size,” said Todd Murray, director of licensing at Brown Shoe, a $2.3 billion company best known for its chain of more than 1,100 Famous Footwear stores.

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Winn-Dixie pilots new SaveRite concept

BY CSA STAFF

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. Winn-Dixie Stores has opened a prototype store in its existing SaveRite location on Jacksonville’s Westside. According to the company, the completely redesigned store features everyday low pricing on thousands of items, plus monthly locked-in specials and special price-drop items in a warehouse format.

“In designing this concept, we spent a great deal of time reviewing our customers’ shopping preferences. We wanted to make sure that the new store would be a true fit for the neighborhoods it serves,” said Dan Portnoy, Winn-Dixie’s chief merchandising and marketing officer. “We focused only on those items and services that were most important to our customers, and, as a result, we were able to aggressively cut costs and lower prices throughout the store.”

In addition to enhanced produce and meat departments, the 48,000-square-foot store also has an in-store pharmacy where customers will find 30-day supplies of more than 400 generic drugs for only $3.98 every day. Other features include newly designed warehouse-style shopping carts and popular staple items available for purchase by the case.

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