FINANCE

Retail Sales Drop to 3-Year Low in September

BY CSA STAFF

Washington D.C. U.S. retail sales slumped 1.2% in September, marking the steepest drop in sales in three years, according to the U.S. Commerce Department report. Retail sales have now fallen for three consecutive months, the first time that has occurred on government records that go back to 1992.

A major factor in the decline was weak auto sales, which plunged 8.4% year-over-year and 3.75% in the month.

But even excluding autos, retail sales were down a hefty 0.6% in September. Among those taking the biggest hit were furniture stores, where sales fell by 2.3%. Sales at department stores dropped 1.5%.

The U.S. economy grew at an estimated 2.8% pace in the second quarter but analysts say the figure was skewed by a one-time government stimulus that boosted spending, which accounts for about two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, as well as strong exports.

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Van Tassel named president of Post Foods

BY CSA STAFF

ST. LOUIS Ralcorp Holdings has named Stephen Van Tassel corporate vp and president of the recently acquired Post Foods business.

Van Tassel joined the company on Aug. 4 in connection with the acquisition of Post Foods from Kraft Foods. He will be responsible for managing and growing Post Foods and will report to David Skarie, co-ceo and president of Ralcorp.

 

Van Tassel most recently served as vp of marketing for the North America Post Cereal Category.

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Supervalu posts weaker-than-expected 2Q results

BY CSA STAFF

MINNEAPOLIS Supervalu reported second quarter net sales of $10.2 billion compared to $10.2 billion last year, net earnings of $128 million compared to $148 million last year, and diluted earnings per share of 60 cents compared to 69 cents last year. Second quarter fiscal 2009 and fiscal 2008 results included charges for one-time acquisition-related costs of $3 million and $19 million, pretax or 1 cent and 5 cent per diluted share, respectively.

The company reported year-to-date fiscal 2009 net sales of $23.6 billion compared to $23.5 billion last year, net earnings of $290 million compared to $296 million last year, and reported diluted earnings per share of $1.36 compared to $1.37 last year. Year to date fiscal 2009 results include charges for one-time acquisition-related costs of 4 cents per diluted share compared to 13 cents per diluted share last year.

 

Jeff Noddle, Supervalu chairman and ceo, said, Despite weaker than expected operating results in the second quarter, we expect another record earnings per share year, with earnings in a range of $2.86 to $2.96 per share. As for the balance of the year, we have taken action to improve our sales performance while creating value for our customers and to reduce costs in the back half of the year. Noddle went on to say, We are also affirming that our cash flows will provide for more than $1 billion in capital spending and debt reductions of at least $400 million this year. 

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