OPERATIONS

Target CIO resigns; chain to overhaul info security

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Target Corp.’s chief information office, Beth Jacob, is resigning, effective Wednesday, as the retailer continues to deal with the fallout from its widespread data breach. The resignation came as Target said it is overhauling its information security practices.

“While we are still in the process of an ongoing investigation, we recognize that the information security environment is evolving rapidly,” said Gregg Steinhafel, chairman, president and CEO, Target, in a statement released by the chain. “To ensure that Target is well positioned following the data breach we suffered last year, we are undertaking an overhaul of our information security and compliance structure and practices at Target.”

As a first step in this effort, Steinhafel added, Target will conduct an external search for an interim CIO to help the retailer through its transformation.

Target also said it is working with an external adviser, Promontory Financial Group, to help it evaluate its technology, structure, processes and talent as part of the overhaul.

“We will also be elevating the role of the chief information security officer and hiring externally for this position,” Steinhafel said. “Additionally, we will be initiating an external search for a chief compliance officer.”

Previously, compliance duties were overseen by Target’s current VP of assurance risk and compliance, who already announced plans to retire at the end of March. With the overhaul, Target will separate the responsibility for assurance risk and compliance.

Jacob was appointed CIO of Target in 2008. In her resignation letter to Steinhafel, Jacob said resigning was a "difficult decision," but that "this was a time of significant transformation for the retail industry and for Target," the Associated Press reported. She did not mention the breach.

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FINANCE

Walgreens Q2 sales rise 5.2%

BY Dan Berthiaume

Deerfield Park, Ill. – Total sales for the second quarter of fiscal 2014 at Walgreens were $19.61 billion, up 5.2% from $18.65 billion in the same quarter in the prior year. Same-store sales for the second quarter of fiscal 2014 increased 4.5%, while front-end same-store sales for the quarter increased 2%. Prescriptions filled at same stores increased 2.4% in the second quarter and same-store pharmacy sales increased 6.1%.

Severe winter weather is estimated to have negatively impacted second quarter same-store front-end sales by 0.6 percentage point and negatively impacted the quarter’s prescriptions filled at comparable stores by 0.8 percentage point. Additionally, the company incurred incremental selling, general and administrative expenses throughout the quarter from the severe weather

In addition, Walgreens had February 2014 sales of $6.05 billion, an increase of 5% from $5.76 billion for the same month in fiscal 2013. Same-store sales grew 4.5%.Total front-end sales increased 3% compared with the same month in fiscal 2013, while same-store front-end sales increased 2% Customer traffic in same stores decreased 0.7% while basket size increased 2.7%.

Walgreens opened eight stores during February, including five relocations. On Feb. 28, 2014, Walgreens operated 8,681 locations in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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REAL ESTATE

Kroger plans North Texas expansion, store refresh

BY Dan Berthiaume

Cincinnati – Within the next 24 months, Kroger will build six new stores and expand three locations, along with opening multiple fuel centers and remodeling existing properties in the North Texas area. Kroger has already begun a store refresh program in the region that includes lower prices on thousands of popular food and household items, along with a renewed emphasis on shopping experience, fuel discounts, local products and community relations.

Through the new investment, Kroger has lowered prices on items customers purchase most frequently, ranging from fruits and vegetables to grocery and household staples. National and private label brands are included in the price reduction.

In response to customer feedback, Kroger has installed new technology that allows stores to deliver a faster checkout experience. Kroger is striving to have more registers open, especially during peak shopping times, to keep shoppers’ wait time to a minimum.

"We’re a strong brand and company but we’ve achieved that status because we’re always looking for improvement opportunities. Kroger currently serves 662,000 households every week in the North Texas market with 86 locations and we continue to expand those numbers," said Bill Breetz, president of Kroger Southwest. "We know that price is important to every customer, and at times, can be a deciding factor where to shop. With our Refresh initiative, we’re making a multi-million dollar investment to reduce prices across the store and reengaging our employees to offer highly-satisfied customer service."

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