FINANCE

Weather impacts Aaron’s earnings, revenues in Q1

BY Dan Berthiaume

Atlanta – Severe weather had a negative impact on financial performance at Aaron’s Inc. during the first quarter of fiscal 2014. Compared to the same period a year earlier, Aaron’s net earnings declined 25% to $38.3 million from $51 million.

Revenues dropped 1% to $585.4 million compared to $593.0 million for the first quarter in 2013. Same-store sales shrank 2.1%.

"Same store revenue and customer growth in both company-operated and franchised stores declined in the quarter," said Ronald W. Allen, CEO of Aaron’s. "Approximately 70% of company-operated stores have been identified as having operations adversely impacted by the severe weather events that occurred during the first three months of the year. This includes a significant number of store closings as well as elevated utility and maintenance expenses. We estimate the negative impact of the weather conditions on revenue during the quarter in the range of $5.5 million to $6.5 million and the diluted earnings per share impact between $.05 and $.06 per share."

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FINANCE

Weis Markets budgets $101 million for capital expenditures

BY Dan Berthiaume

Sunbury, Pa. – Weis Markets plans to invest $101 million in its growth program in 2014. That figure encompasses spending on 16 projects during 2014, including expansion of Weis’ 1.1-million-sq.-ft. distribution center in Milton, Pennsylvania.

“Since 2008, we have invested more than $500 million in our growth and improvement programs,” said Weis Markets president and CEO Jonathan Weis. “During this period, we completed more than 100 projects. As a company that self-distributes, our supply chain is a vitally important area for us. During the last year, we have increased our focus on maximizing efficiency by driving millions of dollars of cost out of the system, while maintaining our high standards for store service. This has helped us reduce store level inventories and improve freshness.”

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OPERATIONS

Supervalu names two new board members

BY Dan Berthiaume

Minneapolis — Frank A. (Terry) Savage and Mathew M. Pendo have been elected to the Supervalu board of directors, effective April 24. Savage and Pendo were both appointed to the board as designees of Symphony Investors LLC, under the terms of a tender offer agreement entered into with Symphony Investors and Cerberus Capital Management in connection with Supervalu’s sale of five banners to an affiliate of Symphony Investors.

Savage is currently a senior advisor to Lazard Ltd. and the former vice chairman of U.S. investment banking at Lazard. Pendo is currently a managing director at Sandler O’Neill Partners, a boutique investment banking firm focused on the financial services industry. The board now has 11 members, nine of whom are independent directors, including Savage and Pendo.

“Terry and Mathew each bring tremendous business and financial experience to the Supervalu board and we are excited to have them join,” said Gerald Storch, non-executive chairman of Supervalu.

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