OPERATIONS

Report: Pilot store for expired/damaged food to open in Boston

BY Dan Berthiaume

Boston – Doug Rauch, former president of Trader Joe’s, reportedly plans to open a pilot store that will charge reduced prices for food that is damaged or expired, but still safe to eat. According to the Boston Globe, The Daily Table will open in the urban Dorchester neighborhood of Boston during 2014 and offer services that are a mix of features offered in supermarkets and restaurants.

The store will focus on products whose expiration date does not match the actual date when they spoil or otherwise become unsafe for consumption. Reportedly some observers are concerned the idea basically provides underprivileged consumers with products other consumers don’t want.

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FINANCE

Walgreens December sales grow 7.2%

BY Dan Berthiaume

Deerfield, Ill. — Walgreens had December sales of $7.20 billion, an increase of 7.2% from $6.72 billion for the same month in fiscal 2013.

Total front-end sales increased 4% compared with the same month in fiscal 2013, while same-store front-end sales increased 2.5%. Same-store sales increased 6.1%. Same-store customer traffic decreased 1.3%, while basket size increased 3.8%. Calendar 2013 sales were $73.72 billion, an increase of 4.5% from $70.52 billion in 2012. Walgreens opened five stores during December, including one relocation, acquired three stores and closed six.

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FINANCE

Hhgregg estimates 12% net sales drop in Q3

BY Dan Berthiaume

Indianapolis — For the third fiscal quarter of 2014, Hhgregg estimates net sales to be approximately $707.1 million, a decrease of approximately 11.6% as compared to net sales of $799.6 million reported for the third fiscal quarter of 2013.

Third fiscal quarter same-store sales are estimated to have decreased approximately 11.2%, with the appliance category expected to have increased approximately 1.5%, the consumer electronic category expected to have decreased approximately 19.7%, the computing and wireless category expected to have decreased approximately 24.5%, and the home products category expected to have increased approximately 36.1%.

Dennis May, president and CEO of Hhgregg, said poor performance in the consumer electronics and wireless categories led to the third quarter coming in below the company’s expectations. Hhgregg now expects its full fiscal year performance to miss previously stated guidance.

“Our sales of consumer electronics and computing and wireless products were significantly below our expectations during the quarter,” said May. “Our third fiscal quarter, while solidly profitable, is expected to be materially below both our expectations and prior year for diluted earnings per share, driven by the net sales miss. Our holiday sales were significantly impacted by increased promotional offerings of televisions and tablet products across a variety of retail formats. While we are disappointed with these sales results, we made the strategic decision during the quarter not to fully participate in the heavily promotional environment. We did manage our inventory and liquidity position well, with total inventory per store below prior year levels.”

Hhgregg will provide additional information regarding its quarterly results and will update full year guidance when it reports its third fiscal quarter results on Jan. 30.

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