FINANCE

Report: Supervalu to Remodel Stores, Lower Debt

BY CSA STAFF

New York City, Supervalu Inc. said Thursday it will focus on remodeling its stores, offering local promotions and reducing its debt during its second year of integrating the Albertsons grocery chain into its operations, according to the Associated Press.

“I’m pleased with our success in year one,” said Supervalu CEO Jeff Noddle in a Webcast of the Goldman Sachs Global Retailing Conference in New York. “This is a marathon and not a sprint.”

Noddle outlined three initiatives—building programs for retail growth, implementing synergies and maintaining fiscal discipline—to work on in the “implementation phase” of its acquisition, the report said.

Noddle said the company would try to reduce its debt by $400 million and return to an investment-grade credit rating in 2008. He said the company would also work on its private-label brand. He added that the chain would remodel 80% of its stores in the next seven years through a $1.2 billion capital-spending plan.

The CEO also said he has seen some effects of the difficult consumer environment at its stores as gas prices have stayed high and shoppers struggle with a weaker housing market. He said some consumers are “trading down,” or buying products that are less expensive, and fewer shoppers are coming to the store.

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Ross Stores August sales up 12%

BY CSA STAFF

PLEASANTON, Calif. Ross Stores today reported sales of $461 million for the four weeks ended Sept. 1, a 12% increase over the $410 million in sales for the four weeks ended Sept. 2, 2006. Same-store sales grew 4% for the month of August 2007, compared to a same-store sales increase of 3% for the four weeks ended Aug. 26, 2006.

For the seven months ended Sept. 1, sales were $3.32 billion, a 9% increase over the $3.04 billion in sales for the seven months ended Sept. 2, 2006. Comparable-store sales for the seven months ended Sept. 1 rose 2% over the seven months ended Sept. 2, 2006. Comparable-store sales rose 5% for the seven months ended August 26, 2006.

 

Michael Balmuth, vice chairman, president and ceo, commented, “Comparable-store sales in August were at the high end of our plan for a 2% to 4% increase. As expected, Texas and Florida were the strongest regions, benefiting from shifts in their sales tax holidays, which moved from July last year into August this year, as well as later back-to-school start dates. We estimate that the sales tax calendar shifts increased total reported comparable-store sales by at least 1% for the month. Looking ahead, we continue to forecast same-store sales gains of 1% to 3% for both September and October.”

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Target to be exclusive seller of SNL album

BY CSA STAFF

UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. Target stores will be the exclusive retailer of the first live album from Saturday Night Live in nearly a decade. Beginning Sept. 9, Target shoppers will be able to purchase the 11-track compilation, which features live performances SNL’s last four seasons by artists such as Avril Lavigne, Foo Fighters and Kelly Clarkson. The album is produced by NBC Universal and Broadway Video Enterprises and distributed by Sony BMG.

“We think this is a great way to present these artist’s frontline records in a unique format for our guests, “said Sue Peterson, senior music buyer for Target. “By creating this exclusive CD, we’re able to capture the excitement of SNL’s live performances and further position Target as a true entertainment destination.”

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