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Safeway completes Blackhawk spinoff

BY Dan Berthiaume

Pleasanton, Calif. – Safeway Inc. has completed the distribution to its stockholders of 37.8 million shares of Class B common stock of Blackhawk Networks Holdings Inc. owned by Safeway. After the completion of the distribution, Safeway no longer owns any shares of Class B common stock of Blackhawk.

The distribution by Safeway was made in the form of a pro rata common stock dividend, of its Class B common stock equity interest in Blackhawk to all Safeway stockholders of record on April 3. Safeway stockholders will receive cash in lieu of any fraction of a share of Blackhawk Class B common stock that they otherwise would have received. Starting on April 15, the when-issued market for Safeway common stock on the New York Stock Exchange will no longer be available.

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Pep Boys “Road Ahead” involves omnichannel acceleration

BY CSA STAFF

Pep Boys is looking to accelerate a range of digital and physical offerings as part of a strategy called, “Road Ahead,” after the omnichannel efforts resulted in 152% growth.

Pep Boys operates 800 locations in 35 states with 7,500 service bays which differentiates the company from parts-only players such as AutoZone and Advance Auto Parts who perform basic services in their parking lots such as changing batteries or wiper blades.

“Our new Road Ahead strategy includes strong growth from our digital omnichannel initiatives,” said Pep Boys president and CEO Mike Odell. “Overall, sales from service appointments made online, tires purchased online and installed in our service bays, and products purchased online for store pick up or home delivery grew 152% in the fourth quarter.”

According to Odell, the company’s vision is to be the best alternative to the dealer and the Road Ahead strategy is all about leveraging the retail business to drive the service business.

“Our first completed Road Ahead market in Tampa continues to produce returns in line with our 15% hurdle rate,” Odell said. “Based on those results, we are moving forward to complete an additional 20 stores in three markets – San Francisco, Boston and Charlotte – during the first half of 2014 and initiating plans for an additional three markets to be completed in late 2014 or early 2015.”

Acceleration of the Road Ahead strategy comes as Pep Boy reported weak results for its fourth quarter ended February 1. Sales for the 13 week period declined 6.6% to $35.1 million, but excluding the extra week from the prior year fourth quarter Pep Boys mustered a 0.2% sales increase. A 2.4% same store sales decline was driven by a 3.4% decline in same store merchandise sales offset by a 1.4% increase in same store service sales. The company reported a loss of $3.3 million, or six cents a share, compared to a loss of $14.5 million, or 27 cents a share, the prior year.

“On a comparable store basis, customer count, maintenance and repair sales and tire units all grew quarter over quarter,” Odell said. “While retail tire pricing has recently stabilized, prices are still below last year’s level, which has and is expected to continue to negatively impact top line sales results through the second quarter of 2014. We are also growing our service footprint, adding 30 Service and Tire Centers during fiscal 2014. These new Service and Tire Centers showcase the welcoming exterior curb appeal and comfortable customer lounge of our new ‘Road Ahead’ format.”

Full year sales declined 1.2% to slightly more than $2 billion, but excluding the extra week from the prior year increased by 1.6%. A 1.3% same store sales decline consisted of a 1.6% service sales increase offset by a 2.1% merchandise sales decrease.

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Longhorns put geo-fencing capabilities to the test

BY CSA STAFF

Digital savings provider RetailMeNot will put the geo-fencing capabilities of its mobile coupon app to the test this Saturday at the University of Texas.

The University of Texas Longhorns are scheduled to play their annual spring football game on Saturday, April 19 and Austin-based RetailMeNot is using the occasion to test an events-based offer. Attendees at the game to be held at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium who download the RetailMeNot app and enable the location feature will have a chance to receive a discount code for a buy one, get one free deal at Pizza Hut and win four tickets to the Longhorns home opener.

"As the geofencing capabilities of the RetailMeNot Coupons app evolve, we will continue to test new ways to help our users save money with relevant offers," said Jill Balis, SVP of marketing for RetailMeNot. "We are really excited to test event-based offers right here in our backyard at The University of Texas spring game. This will be the first in a series of special offers that will be available exclusively to those who have the RetailMeNot app at select events here locally in Austin.”

Many of those events are likely to be held at Austin’s sports and entertainment venue called Circuit of the Americas (COTA). RetailMeNot also announced a recent partnership with COTA to provide offers to attendees at concerts or sporting events at the venue. For example, RetailMeNot offered special deals to attend the MotoGP race this past weekend and will feature additional promotions at upcoming X Games, concerts and festivals.

"Circuit of The Americas is fortunate that one of the fastest-growing digital marketing companies in the world is located in our backyard," said Geoff Moore, COTA’s chief marketing and revenue officer. "Our partnership creates a program that will deliver unique, value-laden offers to sports and entertainment enthusiasts throughout the year. Our state-of-the-art facility hosts the world’s most popular motorsports, including Formula 1, MotoGP and the Endurance Championships, plus the pinnacle of action sports in X Games Austin, and more than 20 live performances at our award-winning Austin360 Amphitheater. RetailMeNot will allow us to put attractive opportunities before our international fans."

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