Royal Ahold Reports 4Q Decline
Zaandam, Netherlands, Royal Ahold reported that its fourth-quarter sales declined 3% to $16.3 billion, due mainly to the weak valuation of the U.S. dollar and the impact of the net sales of divested operations. Net sales at U.S. retail chains increased 10% to $6.9 billion for the fourth quarter, while the company’s U.S. Foodservice division saw sales rise 7.8% to $4.5 billion. Total sales for the full year fell 7% to $69 billion.
Jo-Ann Stores Builds DC
Hudson, Ohio, Jo-Ann Stores plans to build a 700,000-sq.-ft. distribution center in Opelika, Ala., to support the company’s growth in southern states, including Florida, Georgia and Texas. The site will mark the company’s third distribution center, with two others located in Visalia, Calif., and Hudson, Ohio. Jo-Ann will break ground for the new site in March 2005 and expects to begin shipping to stores in April 2006.
The company plans to open an additional 40 superstores across the country in 2005. Last year, the company opened 29 superstores as part of a strategic initiative to transition many of its retail outlets from traditional fabric stores to full-service craft and fabric superstores. The larger superstores generate, on average, almost four times the revenue of a traditional store.
Serious Interest in Toys
Wayne, N.J., Toys “R” Us generated interest from a small group of bidders – down from about a dozen — who are interested in a buyout of the Wayne, N.J.-based company’s toy business, Reuters reported. Private equity company’s Apollo and Permira are expected to team with the toy chain’s former CEO Michael Goldstein with one bid. Toys “R” Us intends to sell its toy operations and focus on its faster-growing Babies R Us division.