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ShopKo Earmarks $60MM for Improvements in 2005

BY CSA STAFF

Green Bay, Wis., ShopKo Stores Inc. announced it would spend $60 million on capital improvements this year, including store remodels and IT upgrades.

Included in ShopKo’s plans are the remodels of 16 ShopKo stores and 35 Pamida locations. The retailer also will open eight new Pamida stores and install 12 pharmacies in existing Pamida locations. Also, ShopKo is in preliminary planning to add three new ShopKo Express Rx stores to open in 2006.

The $60 million capital-spending plan also includes the replacement of some merchandising IT applications, the replacement of the optical system in the ShopKo division, and the installation of pharmacy robotics in ShopKo locations.

ShopKo also released its fourth-quarter and 2004 earnings: In the fourth quarter, the retailer recorded net income of $35.4 million, up 12% year-over-year. Consolidated sales declined 4.5%, due in part to a 4.4% decrease in same-store sales.

For the fiscal year ended Jan. 29, 2005, ShopKo’s net income grew 10.7% to $43.3 million. Consolidated sales were flat at $3.17 billion. Same-store sales decreased 0.4% for the year.

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Wal-Mart Gasses Up

BY CSA STAFF

Bentonville, Ark., Wal-Mart Stores is building its own gasoline stations, according to a report in The Dallas Morning Star. The chain has been partnering with other companies, primarily Arkansas-based Murphy Oil Corp., to operate gasoline pumps in more than 800 of its store parking lots under lease arrangements. But the chain is now opening stations under its own brand, with locations at Sam’s Clubs in Virginia and at a Wal-Mart Supercenter in Pineville, Mo.

Oil Express, a weekly newsletter, quoted sources in Monday’s edition as saying the chain plans to open up to 200 to 300 stations within a year or so and that its total could exceed 500 later this decade.

“The expansion of Wal-Mart’s gasoline marketing program is fueled by the success the firm has seen in marrying a competitive offering at the pump to lift inside-store sales,” Oil Express said.

Wal-Mart spokeswoman Sharon Weber said that she wasn’t aware of any expansion plans.

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Cost Plus CEO Steps Down

BY CSA STAFF

Oakland, Calif., The chairman, CEO, and president of Cost Plus, Murray Dashe, has stepped down and plans to retire, the specialty retailer announced today. Danny Gurr, who has served as company director since 1995, has been appointed interim president and CEO while a replacement is sought. In addition, Fredric M. Roberts, a company director since 1999, has been named non-executive chairman of the board.

“On behalf of the board, we thank Murray for his efforts over the past seven years and his role in helping grow the company from 58 stores to a nationwide chain of 236 stores with annual sales approaching $1 billion,” said Gurr in a statement. “We have a strong and experienced team of dedicated employees to execute our strategies and several key initiatives that we have undertaken to strengthen our brand and increase returns for our investors.”

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