FINANCE

Safeway Q1 profit falls on tax charge

BY CSA STAFF

Pleasanton, Calif. — Taxes related to Safeway’s effort to pay down debt reduced its first-quarter net income, but the company’s adjusted results beat Wall Street’s expectations as its revenue rose, the Associated Press reported.

The company earned $25.1 million for the quarter, compared with $96 million a year earlier. This includes a tax charge related to a plan to pay down its U.S. debt with part of a $1.1 billion dividend in cash and debt from its Canadian operations.

Revenue rose 5% to $9.77 billion, beating expectations for $9.45 billion. Same-store sales rose 3.5%. Excluding the impact of fuel, that figure rose 0.4%.

The grocery chain said that its sales are consistently improving. Safeway’s profit margin, however, was hurt by the higher prices it paid for the gasoline it sold during the period, and its shares fell.

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REAL ESTATE

Walgreens to buy 10 Carle RxExpress

BY CSA STAFF

Deerfield, Ill. — Walgreen Co. has agreed to buy 10 Carle RxExpress pharmacies in east central Illinois.

The chain did not disclose terms of the deal. It expects the sale to close by July. Walgreen said it will continue to run six of the pharmacies and will consolidate a seventh into the others. It will close three other locations and transfer prescription files and inventory to nearby Walgreen locations.

The stores are currently owned by The Carle Foundation, a not-for-profit company based in Urbana, Ill.

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FINANCE

Tractor Supply approves $600 million share buyback

BY CSA STAFF

Brentwood, Texas — Tractor Supply Co. said Thursday it approved a $600 million stock buyback program, increases its existing share buyback program to $1 billion. The program was established in February 2007, and is extended through April 30, 2015.

The chain said it will also increase its quarterly cash dividend to 12 cents per share.

Tractor Supply, the largest retail farm and ranch retail chain in the United States, said the dividend is a 71% increase over its previous payments of 7 cents per share. The dividend will be paid June 1 to stockholders of record at the close of business May 16.

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