Safeway Will Cut Prices and Costs in 2009
New York City Safeway Inc. told investors Thursday that it will aggressively cut costs, lower prices and focus on improving its financial position in 2009, the Associated Press reported.
“We are a very strong player in a very weak economy, and we think that creates a very strong opportunity to take [market share],” Steve Burd, the chain’s chairman and CEO, said during the company’s annual investor meeting Thursday.
Safeway said it expects its identical-store sales, excluding fuel, to grow between 2% and 3%.
“These results will be supported by an aggressive cost-reduction effort, coupled with price reductions, to further the company’s effort to lower everyday pricing,” the company said in a statement.
Safeway leaders said the focus on value, such as heavy emphasis on its store brands and strategic promotions, is essential for success as consumers limit spending amid tough times.
The company plans to slow capital investments, which have been heavy in recent years as it updated many of its stores to its “Lifestyle” format. Company leaders said that within the year they also will take other measures to reduce costs, such as controlling spending on energy through strategic arrangements.
Safeway said its cash expenditures will total $1.2 billion, down from $1.6 billion in 2008. And it will nearly double its free cash flow.
Mattel wins injunction battle against MGA over Bratz licensing
NEW YORK Last night, U.S. District Judge Stephen Larson granted Mattel’s request for an injunction to stop MGA Entertainment from selling certain Bratz products.
“We believe the jury verdict was clear in denying 99% of Mattel’s copyright infringement claim and that issuing such a broad injunction is inconsistent with the limited jury verdict and the law,” said Isaac Larian, ceo of MGA. Larian added that “MGA intends to immediately appeal the injunction Mattel was granted.”
While the order does provide that it will be stayed until February 2009 while the Court considers additional legal briefing on post-trial issues, MGA will request that the stay be extended pending resolution of MGA’s appeal. “We will seek to stay enforcement of this Order until our appeal is resolved so we can maintain the over 1500 people that MGA employs, and continue to give our consumers a product they desire,” Larian stated.
Food, consumables drive BJ’s Nov. comps growth
NATICK, Mass. BJ’S reported that sales for the month of November 2008 increased by 5.2% to $783.2 million from $744.4 million for November 2007. Excluding gasoline sales, merchandise comparable club sales increased by 6.2% versus guidance of 2% to 3%. According to the company, the increase versus guidance was due primarily to stronger sales of food and consumables, particularly during week four.
November sales increased in all regions with the highest increase in Metro New York and the lowest increase in the Southeast region. Comparable-club sales increases were highest in week four and lowest in week three, reflecting a calendar shift in the timing of Thanksgiving.
Departments with the strongest sales increases versus last year included bakery, breakfast foods, computer equipment, dairy, deli, frozen, health & beauty aids, household chemicals, meat, oils, paper products, pet foods, prepared foods, produce, snacks, soda and trash bags. Weaker departments versus last year included apparel, cigarettes, electronics, jewelry, prerecorded video, seasonal, televisions, tires and toys.