OPERATIONS

Sears: No indication of data breach yet

BY Marianne Wilson

Hoffman Estates, Ill. — Sears Holdings Corp. on Friday acknowledged that it is reviewing its systems to see if it has been the victim of a security breach. To date, it hasn’t found any indication of a breach, the retailer said.

Sears issued a statement after Bloomberg News reported on Friday that the U.S. Secret Service was investigating a possible breach at Sears. The report cited a person familiar with the investigation.

“There have been rumors and reports throughout the retail industry of security incidents at various retailers, and we are actively reviewing our systems to determine if we have been a victim of a breach,” Sears said in its statement. “We have found no information based on our review of our systems to date indicating a breach.”

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OPERATIONS

Ahold to double Peapod’s U.S. capacity in 2014

BY Michael Johnsen

Zaandam, The Netherlands — Ahold plans to significantly expand its Peapod presence in the U.S. market.

"Peapod is expected to double its capacity in the U.S. in 2014," Dick Boer, Ahold CEO, told analysts during the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call.

"We’re planning to open a semi-automated New Jersey warehouse during this summer of 300,000 sq. ft. — clearly focusing on the demands of the New York City market. As many as 21 million people live within New York City’s boundaries, Boer said, "so enormous opportunity for us to move in that market — we’re already there, but to accelerate that growth."

Boer reported that Peapod would also concentrate on expanding its number of pick-up points by 200 by the end of the year.

Furthering its commitment to online strategies, Ahold recently opened a state-of-the-art digital innovation lab in Chicago, Boer said. "[This] allows us to attract top talent to help us shape the future."

Ahold USA on Thursday reported net sales of $6 billion, down 2.1%. Identical sales dropped 2.1% (2% excluding gasoline) reflecting the sales effect of Hurricane Sandy last year and a challenging fourth quarter, the company stated. For the full year, net sales were $26.1 billion, up 1.1%. Identical sales were up 0.2% (0.3% excluding gasoline).

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News

Here we go again?

BY CSA STAFF

Sears Holdings late Friday issued a statement confirming that the company is investigating whether it was the victim of a security breach.

"There have been rumors and reports throughout the retail industry of security incidents at various retailers and we are actively reviewing our systems to determine if we have been a victim of a breach," read the statement. "We have found no information based on our review of our systems to date indicating a breach."

The statement offered no additional details about when it began the investigation. The news comes just a day after the company posted fourth quarter results. Although net and same-store sales dropped in the quarter, the company was able to narrow its loss, as it lowered expenses and reduced inventory. A breach could very well hurt the company’s progress.

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