FINANCE

U.S. Ahold unit acquires Ukrop

BY CSA STAFF

Richmond, Va. Dutch grocer Royal Ahold NV has bought Ukrop’s Super Markets in a deal valued at $140 million.

The acquisition of Ukrop includes the family-owned grocer’s 25 locations, as well as its inventory, equipment and lease agreements. Ukrop employees will be hired by Ahold’s Giant-Carlisle division.

The deal adds to Ahold’s presence in Virginia, where the company already operates grocery stores under the Giant and Martin’s brands.

Under the terms of the deal, Richmond, Va.-based Ukrop will be owned by the Giant-Carlisle division. That unit also operates stores in Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

The deal is expected to close in first quarter 2010.

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Pier 1 returns to profitability in Q3

BY CSA STAFF

FORT WORTH, Texas Pier 1 Imports reported net income of $39 million, or 37 cents per share, for the third quarter, versus a net loss of $37 million, or 41 cents per share, for the same period last year. Without taking into account the effects of the unusual transactions and expenses that were recorded during the third quarter, net income would have been $2 million compared with a loss of $30 million last year.

Total sales for the third quarter increased to $327 million from $301 million in the year-ago quarter. Comparable-store sales during the quarter increased 13.7%.

 

Alex Smith, president and CEO, said, “The results of this past quarter were very gratifying for all of us at Pier 1 Imports. Critical business metrics including traffic, conversion rate and average ticket improved throughout the quarter yielding strong positive comparable-store sales. Excellent input margins and lower markdown activity generated the highest merchandise margins in over six years.”

 

The company announced that it has executed a three-year renewal and extension of the employment agreement with Smith. A copy of the agreement has been filed with the SEC.

 

Chairman of the board, Dr. Michael Ferrari said, “Since Alex’s arrival in February 2007, Pier 1 Imports has been on a path to return to profitability. His vision and leadership have guided our company through a challenging economic environment and he has made the tough decisions that have enabled us to emerge much stronger and better positioned to meet the changing needs of consumers. This extension of his employment agreement demonstrates our confidence in his ability to continue to lead this company as we look ahead to an even brighter future.”

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Blockbuster launches iPhone app

BY CSA STAFF

DALLAS Blockbuster has launched a new application for the iPhone and iPod touch.

The new app enables customers to browse Blockbuster’s catalog of movies and television shows, check to see if the movie they want is in stock at their local participating Blockbuster store, build and manage an online rental queue and locate their nearest Blockbuster store.

“Downloading this app is like putting Blockbuster in your pocket,” said Kevin Lewis, SVP digital entertainment at Blockbuster. “It’s just one more way we’re working to expand our connection with our customers and their access to the entertainment they want most. We spent a lot of time listening to the kind of features our customers wanted in an app for the iPhone and iPod touch, and we’re excited by the functionality in this first release.”

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