FINANCE

Report: Activist Investors Want Dillard’s Management Change

BY CSA STAFF

New York City Two activist investors in Dillard’s Inc. are seeking the ouster of its family-led management, including chief executive William Dillard II, over the department store operator’s consistently poor results, Reuters reported.

In an Oct. 24 letter to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission released on Monday, hedge funds Barington Capital Group LP and Clinton Group Inc. ask Dillard’s to immediately search for a new CEO and replace other Dillard family members, saying they are “on the company’s payroll regardless of their performance.”

“In our opinion, a management team with a comparable record of poor performance at any other company would have been fired long ago,” the letter states.

The hedge funds said most of the Dillard family members who work for the company are “overpaid and under-qualified for the positions they hold and can be readily replaced with more talented retailers.”

Dillard’s has seen its financial results steadily weaken. Dillard’s September same-store sales of $568.5 million were down 12%, 3% of which it attributed to hurricane disruptions.

Dillard’s avoided a proxy fight with the two funds in April by agreeing to nominate four candidates to the board of directors. All the candidates had retail experience.

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Giant Food signs 10-year banking deal with PNC

BY CSA STAFF

LANDOVER, Md. Giant Food has signed an exclusive, 10-year agreement with PNC Financial Services Group, under which PNC will provide banking services in Giant supermarket locations across Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and the District of Columbia.

“We are very excited and pleased to bring to our Giant customers a new in-store banking opportunity,” said Robin Michel, evp and general manager of Giant Food. Michel continued, “Many Giant customers have come to appreciate the convenience of full-service, in-store banking. With PNC, we expand an existing relationship with one of the nation’s best-performing banks, which has 12 years of in-store banking success and a strong network of banks in our market areas. We are also pleased to be providing our Giant customers with a bank that shares our commitment to the high-quality service that our customers expect.”

According to the agreement, PNC intends to open full-service, in-store branches. Initial plans call for 41 new in-store branches and 180 ATMs to be in place in 2009. In addition to locations in the District of Columbia, Virginia and Maryland, in-store branch locations will be in Delaware, where PNC already has in-store branches in three Giant stores. Under the agreement, more in-store branches and ATMs will be added in existing and new Giant stores during the next 10 years. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

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Coca-Cola to place calorie info on front packaging

BY CSA STAFF

ATLANTA Coca-Cola North America announced it will voluntarily place calories-per-serving and servings-per-container information on the front of all packages for its entire U.S. beverage portfolio. The new label, which will begin appearing on packages next year, will highlight both calories per serving and number of servings per container.

We view our label as a powerful tool for education, an opportunity to communicate with consumers every time they choose one of our products at the store or have a Coca-Cola beverage on their table, said Celeste Bottorff, vp of Living Well. We listen to what consumers tell us they want, respond creatively and encourage everyone to make informed decisions about what they drink, choices that reflect a sense of balance and moderation. Its part of our Live Positively philosophy. 

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