Weis expands 2011 cap ex budget
Sunbury, Pa. — Weis Markets on Thursday announced an increase of its 2011 capital expenditure budget by 7% to $110 million. The current budget includes 14 major remodels, two additions and three new/replacement stores.
The company currently is building a replacement unit near Reading, a new unit near Easton and a replacement unit near State College, all in Pennsylvania.
"We’ve significantly increased the pace and tempo of our growth," stated Jonathan Weis, vice chairman of Weis Markets, during the grocer’s annual shareholders meeting. "Over the past two years, we’ve averaged 15 major projects — triple what we were doing a couple of years ago — and our cap ex budget has increased by nearly 35% during this period. We continue to reinvest in our stores, information technology systems and human capital at an unprecedented rate."
Weis Markets president and CEO David Hepfinger also reported that the company would continue to increase its technology investments, which has totaled $25 million in recent years. "While we will continue to make major investments in our store base, our growth will be based on more than just bricks and mortar," Hepfinger said. "Effective Information technology systems are essential to our growth and success. We are determined to give our associates the tools and analytics they need to do better serve the needs of our business and our customers."
In related news, Weis’ board of directors declared a quarterly dividend of 29 cents per share to shareholders of record as of May 9, payable on May 23.
FAO Schwarz, Kidlandia help kids create worlds
NEW YORK – Kidlandia, a company that enables children to create such personalized items as maps, kingdoms and family trees, has opened its first in-store boutique at FAO Schwarz in Midtown Manhattan.
Working with a dedicated FAO Schwarz associate, children and their families can use the Kidlandia Kiosk, which utilizes hardware provided by HP, to create their own personalized kingdom. Customers can select from Kidlandia’s own map designs, or choose a map featuring popular characters from Disney and Nickelodeon. Each map will be designated the land of the child’s name provided, and for further personalization, other names of family and friends can be added, which then become the names of locations on the map.
In addition, as an exclusive to FAO Schwarz, guests can select a map of Manhattan and use it as a way to remember their trip.
The Kidlandia Personalization Boutique will offer 24 x 18-inch Kidlandia fine art prints that will be packaged in a travel-friendly tube for the customer, the company reported.
“2011 will be a monumental year for Kidlandia,” said Kidlandia CEO Brian Backus. “The company was born to give every child their own kingdom to rule. All these exciting new initiatives and products are certain to entertain, educate, and delight kids and parents, and also capture important moments in a highly personalized gift.”
Kidlandia also has an online retail presence with Disney Store, Pottery Barn and Gilte Group. The company said it is developing other relationships with brick-and-mortar retailers.
Publix helps customers give back to tornado victims
LAKELAND, Fla. — Publix Super Markets announced that it has established a program to offer its customers and associates a way to directly assist those areas in the South affected by recent tornadoes and severe weather. Customers may donate any amount by adding it to their grocery totals when checking out at Publix registers. Collected money will be channeled through the American Red Cross and designated specifically for the Southern Storms disaster relief efforts. The program will continue for a few weeks, based on customer response.
“Our customers and associates have trusted Publix to react quickly and help those affected by tragic circumstances,” said Maria Brous, director of media and community relations. “This disaster to the South hits close to home as we operate in some of the impacted areas. Our first priority was to account for our associates and then to focus on our operations in order to continue serving our communities in time of need.”