Tops to sell seven stores in settlement with FTC
New York City Tops Markets has agreed to sell a supermarket in Lockport, N.Y., and six others in central New York and Pennsylvania to settle antitrust issues arising from its acquisition of 79 former Penn Traffic supermarkets, according to BuffaloNews.com.
The settlement with the Federal Trade Commission, announced Wednesday, would resolve claims by federal antitrust officials that Tops’ ownership of those stores would limit competition and drive up grocery prices.
The settlement, approved unanimously by the FTC, will further reduce the number of stores that Tops acquired in the Penn Traffic purchase, leaving Tops with only about three of every five outlets obtained under the $85 million deal.
Of the 79 stores purchased in January, Tops already has closed or sold 24. Selling the seven stores covered by the FTC settlement would leave Tops with 48 stores from the Penn Traffic deal.
NDN sees Q1 sales, earnings boost
CITY OF COMMERCE, Calif. Ninety-Nine Cents Only Stores reported that sales for the first quarter increased by 4.6% to $336.6 million and same-store sales increased 2.7%. Consolidated net income increased by $7.3 million to $16.8 million, or 24 cents per diluted share, versus $9.5 million in the prior year, or 14 cents per diluted share.
Eric Schiffer, CEO of Ninety-Nine Cents Only Stores, stated, “For our second quarter of fiscal 2011, ending on Sept. 25, which is typically our most challenging quarter due to seasonal factors, we expect low single digit same-store sales and are targeting a 20% improvement in pre-tax profit margin compared to the second quarter of fiscal 2010. In addition to the seasonal factors that cause the September quarter to be less profitable than the June quarter, we expect higher freight costs versus last year’s second quarter and furthermore, we are investing in a store level merchandise ordering system, and will incur training and learning costs as we complete the roll out of phase one of this system to our stores this quarter.
“For fiscal 2011 we expect positive same-store sales in the low single digits and plan to open approximately 5% more stores in our existing markets, primarily in the second half of the year. “
NPD: Consumers spending more, but shopping later for BTS
PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. The NPD Group found that this year 38% of respondents to its back-to-school spending intentions survey, said they plan to spend less this year compared with last year’s 44%.
Consumers are continuing to put off shopping until the last minute. Half the number of consumers this year (3%) compared with last year (6%) said they have purchased for back-to-school already, NPD reported.
“More and more consumers keep telling us that they are putting off their shopping later and later each year,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst, The NPD Group. “I would say that this is change in the timing of consumption, more people ‘buying now and wearing now,’ is part of the lingering impact of the recession.”
While consumers’ plans indicate a later start to their shopping they still plan to buy and the category that tops most back-to-school shopping lists is school supplies with 74% of the study’s respondents saying they plan to purchase them. Two categories that appear to be getting this biggest lift this season are apparel (58% this year vs. 52% last year) and footwear (45% this year vs. 39% last year).
This year national chain stores are seeing the biggest boost in the number of consumers who say they plan to shop there, according to NPD. This year 33% said they plan to shop them, last year that number was 29%. Mass merchants, office supply stores, department stores and footwear specialty stores round out the top five.