OPERATIONS

Wal-Mart launches smartphone trade-in

BY Dan Berthiaume

Bentonville, Ark. – Starting Sept. 21, consumers will be able to receive immediate credit toward the purchase of a new smartphone when they trade in their current smartphone at more than 3,600 participating Wal-Mart stores and Sam’s Club locations across the U.S. Wal-Mart’s trade-in program offers an immediate credit from $50 to $300 for more than 100 smartphones.

Consumers will bring their working smartphone to an electronics associate. In partnership with CExchange, the value of the smartphone will then be assessed by answering questions on the device’s condition and specifications. Once accepted, the trade-in value will be applied to a new smartphone of the customer’s choice. Wal-Mart customers can also apply the trade-in value to smartphones available with prepaid plans.

“Smartphones have become a part of our customers’ everyday lives and as new devices launch more frequently, trade-in programs are becoming more popular," said Steve Bratspies, executive VP of general merchandise for Wal-Mart U.S. "More and more, customers are choosing where they purchase new smartphones based on where they’ll get the best value for their trade-ins. Our goal is to give them more value for their old devices and the lowest price for their new one, all part of our promise to be the best destination for wireless."

In addition, customers looking to trade in electronics like tablets, MP3 players, video games, cameras, laptops and more can turn "gadgets to gift cards" on Walmart.com.

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FINANCE

Albertson’s agrees to buy United Family

BY Dan Berthiaume

Boise, Idaho – Albertson’s Supermarkets has agreed to purchase grocery store and c-store operator The United Family. Terms of the transaction have not been released.

Albertson’s currently operates more than 600 stores in 16 states. United currently operates 50 traditional, specialty and Hispanic grocery stores under its United Supermarkets, Market Street and Amigos banners, and seven convenience stores and 26 fuel centers under its United Express banner, all in Texas. United also operates two divisions, R.C. Taylor Distributing and Praters, and one wholly owned subsidiary, Llano Logistics, which operates the company’s two distribution centers in Lubbock and Roanoke, Texas.

“During the past 97 years, the United family and leadership team have done a tremendous job in establishing and perpetuating a remarkable culture of service and commitment to fresh, quality foods throughout their stores,” said Bob Miller, CEO of Albertson’s LLC. “Their commitment to community is unparalleled. Our team feels there is an exceptional opportunity to invest in and grow their brands.”

Upon completion of the transaction, United will operate as a separate business unit under Albertson’s LLC’s corporate structure. Robert Taylor, United’s CEO, will continue to lead the company as president of the United subsidiary, reporting directly to Bob Miller, CEO of Albertson’s LLC. The transaction is expected to be complete by the end of October, subject to customary government approvals.

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FINANCE

Walgreens acquires Kerr Drug chain

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Deerfield, Ill. — Walgreens on Tuesday announced it has acquired North Carolina pharmacy chain Kerr Drug. The purchase of the privately held regional outfit, which generated $381 million in revenue in 2012, includes its 76 retail stores and specialty pharmacy chain.

“The Kerr Drug retail drug stores and specialty pharmacy business are an exceptional addition to the Walgreens family of companies,” said Walgreens president and CEO Greg Wasson. “We are closely aligned on the important task of expanding the healthcare role that community pharmacists can have with their patients, and we share the common goal of stepping out of the traditional drugstore format to create a new experience for our customers.”

“Kerr Drug’s strategy and core principles have always been focused on its unique ability to provide patients access to the most comprehensive and convenient health and wellness offering in the industry," said Anthony Civello, Kerr Drug chairman, president and CEO. "Walgreens is the perfect partner to continue this journey as a patient-oriented company dedicated to expanding the role of the pharmacist as an integral part of health care.”

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. As part of the transaction, which is slated to close later this year, Kerr Drug will maintain ownership of its long-term care pharmacy business.

Until the acquisition closes, Kerr Drug and Walgreens will continue to operate separately. After closing, the acquired Kerr Drug retail drug stores will continue to operate under their current brand in the near term.

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