FINANCE

Wal-Mart CEO sees progress in turning around U.S. sales

BY CSA STAFF

New York City — Wal-Mart Stores is making progress bringing items and shoppers back to its U.S. stores, president and CEO Mike Duke said Tuesday at the Barclays Capital analyst conference in New York City.

Duke noted that improving the chain’s U.S. same-store sales remains its top priority. He said the chain is on its way to having the right assortment.

Wal-Mart’s biggest growth opportunity remains the United States, where it is opening more supercenters and other types of stores, followed by the potential to expand in China, according to Duke.

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FINANCE

Kroger CEO sees grocery prices up slightly

BY CSA STAFF

New York City — Speaking at the Barclays Capital analyst conference in New York City on Tuesday, Kroger Co. chairman and CEO David Dillon said grocery prices are rising slightly. He also said the chain may benefit from rising fuel prices because the discounts it offers on gasoline could attract more shoppers.

Grocery prices have gone up approximately 2%, Dillon said, in what he called "the low side of moderate" inflation, since late last year as suppliers deal with higher commodity and energy costs, the Associated Press reported.

Dillon said the increases in gas prices "spells opportunity" for Kroger because it has more than 1,000 stores with gas stations and a rewards program that has expanded in the last year to tie in with Shell Oil stations.

Dillon said high gas prices can cause households to cut back on restaurant spending and trade to lower-priced store brands, and that could benefit Kroger also.

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REAL ESTATE

Ikea store with geothermal heating/cooling to open in July

BY CSA STAFF

New York City — Ikea announced that its 415,000-sq.-ft. store in Centennial, Col., will open on July 27.

“The excellent construction progress made this past fall and winter by Saunders Construction and the subcontractors — as well as professional and timely reviews by local authorities — created an opportunity for us to open much earlier than originally envisioned,” said Ikea project construction manager Doug Wolfe.

Kelly Frieze, store manager of the future Ikea Centennial, The store will reflect the unique architectural design for which Ikea stores are known, and also will have solar panels on the store’s roof. It also will be the first U.S. Ikea location to integrate a geothermal component as part of its heating/cooling system.

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