FINANCE

Supervalu loss widens in Q4

BY Katherine Boccaccio

New York — Supervalu Inc., which recently divested 877 supermarkets in a $3.3 billion transaction, reported Wednesday a loss of $179 million in the fourth quarter, widened from $42 million in the year-ago period.

Sales dipped 2.3% to $3.89 billion in the quarter. For the full year, the supermarket operator reported a loss of $263 million on sales of $17.1 billion.

Supervalu sold its Albertsons, Acme, Jewel-Osco, Shaw’s and Star Market stores as well as Osco and Sav-on in-store pharmacies to an investor group led by Cerberus Capital Management in March.

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STORE SPACES

Bloomberg: Apple to grow aggressively in China

BY Katherine Boccaccio

New York — A Wednesday report by Bloomberg said that Apple plans to double its number of retail stores in China over the next two years to help offset slowing growth worldwide.

CEO Tim Cook said in a Tuesday conference call that Apple’s 2Q sales in the greater China region increased 11% to a record $8.8 billion, from the 67% pace of growth in the prior quarter. A slowdown globally is prompting the company to shore up sales in China, and that is with more units than the current 11, said Cook. But, say analysts, his plan isn’t aggressive enough.

“Doubling stores over two years is simply not enough,” Shaun Rein, managing director of China Market Research Group in Shanghai, told Bloomberg. “Their sales growth is really collapsing.”

The newly announced plan is off the pace set by former head of retail operations Ron Johnson, who set a target of 25 stores by February 2012.

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OPERATIONS

Survey: 20% of smartphone users respond to savings notification

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Whiting, Ind. — Survey results released Wednesday by CouponCabin.com found that one in five smartphone owners have visited a store after receiving notification that specials, coupons or deals were available nearby.

The survey – conducted by Harris Interactive – also found that 70% of smartphone owners would be at least somewhat influenced to make an unplanned purchase at a store after receiving this type of alert.

Smartphone owners see saving money as a top priority, as 47% said they would like to receive geo-targeted coupons on their device for precisely that reason.

Nearly seven-in-10 (67%) said they would be at least somewhat interested in a mobile app that allows them to receive notifications for geo-targeted coupons.

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