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Report: Safeway takes bids for shopping center development business

BY Dan Berthiaume

Pleasanton, Calif. – Safeway Inc. is reportedly seeking bids for purchase of its shopping center development business. According to the Financial Times, the business is expected to be worth around $1 billion.

The business centers on the purchase and development of sites for shopping centers in which Safeway servers as the anchor tenant. Safeway has been disposing of multiple assets in the wake of its merger agreement with Albertson’s, which is expected to close later in 2014. Safeway has previously said it wants to sell its Mexican operation.

Safeway has not commented on the potential sale of its development business and it is not certain whether any bids have been made or when a sale may occur.

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Report: Lululemon considers going private

BY Dan Berthiaume

Vancouver – Lululemon Athletica Inc. is reportedly considering going private. According to the Wall Street Journal, advisors to Chip Wilson, founder, director and former CEO and chairman of Lululemon, have been speaking with private equity firms including Leonard Green & Partners about possibly taking the retail chain private, although no specific deal is imminent.

Lululemon has a market capitalization of $6 billion, and going private would require reimbursing that value plus a premium. In June, Wilson announced that he voted against the re-election of Michael Casey and RoAnn Costin to the board of Lululemon. He also said he was concerned that the board is not aligned with the core values of product and innovation on which Lululemon was founded.

Wilson founded Lululemon in 1998 and has a 27% share in it. He had been living in Australia when he was asked by the company to return and deal with a quality control issue over the sheerness of its signature Yoga pants that resulted in a product recall during 2013.

Neither Wilson nor Lululemon has publicly commented on reports of going private.

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Walgreens, Rite Aid June same-store sales rise

BY Dan Berthiaume

Deerfield, Ill. – Same-store sales at both Walgreens and Rite Aid increased in June, compared to the same period a year earlier. Same-store sales grew 7.5% at Walgreens and 3.9% at Rite Aid.

Calendar day shifts helped boost same-store sales at Walgreens, while the introduction of new generic drugs had a negative impact. In addition, Walgreens had June sales of $6.28 billion, an increase of 8.9% from $5.77 billion for the same month in fiscal 2013.

Meanwhile, prescription count growth helped fuel same-store sales at Rite Aid, whose total drugstore sales for the four-week period increased 3.5% to $1.995 billion compared to $1.927 billion for the same period last year.

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