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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News

Amy Poehler set to help sales at Old Navy

BY CSA STAFF

Saturday Night Live alum and “Parks and Recreation” star Amy Poehler will appear in commercials for Old Navy following last year’s involvement with Best Buy.

Ad Age is reporting that along with starring in the commercials, Poehler will help write and direct them. The first ad, said Ad Age, features Poehler as an executive at a law firm interviewing a job candidate but getting distracted by the woman’s outfit from Old Navy.

"We approached Amy with a list of scenarios we’d come up with, and she started playing around with them too. She liked some, didn’t like some, came up with some new ones," said Ivan Wicksteed, global CMO at Old Navy, to Ad Age. "Amy is protective of her own brand and thinks very carefully about who she wants to work with. I think that was an important consideration in deciding to work with us. We gave her a lot of creative control. We’re not dictating what she has to say in advertisements."

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