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Walmart To Go, Bentonville, Arkansas

BY CSA STAFF
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Walmart’s new convenience store test concept, Walmart To Go, is located in its hometown of Bentonville, Arkansas.

The approximate 2,500-sq.-ft. store is a hybrid. Part grocery store, part c-store and part quick-serve restaurant, it offers a mix of groceries, c-store staples, and refrigerated and fresh prepared foods, complete with a deli counter. Products are priced the same as they would be in a regular Walmart store.

Walmart To Go also sells gasoline, with a covered awning accented with the retailer’s iconic sunburst over the fuel stations. A large awning also covers the area from the pump area to the store. There is also a picnic area with tables outside for customers who want to eat onsite.

Design: api(+), Tampa, Florida


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Dillard’s sidesteps stubborn winter in first quarter

BY CSA STAFF

While other retailers saw sales affected by a winter that overstayed its welcome, Dillard’s marked its 15th consecutive quarter of positive sales.

Despite weak sales in home and furniture, Dillard’s said sales trends in the first quarter were strongest in the men’s apparel and accessories category and the juniors’ and children’s apparel category followed by ladies’ accessories and lingerie.

The retailer reported total merchandise sales for the quarter of $1.539 billion, a 1% increase from $1.530 billion for the prior-year period. Comparable-store sales increased 2%.

Sales trends were strongest in the Central region, followed by the Eastern and Western regions, respectively.

“We reported record earnings per share of $2.56 compared to $2.50. Our 2% comparable store sales increase marks our 15th consecutive quarter of positive sales. Additionally, we executed $65.9 million of share buyback as a result of our strong cash flow,” said CEO William Dillard II.

Gross margin from retail operations decreased 14 basis points of sales for the quarter compared to the first quarter last year. The decline resulted primarily from increased markdowns compared to the prior-year first quarter.

At May 3, the company operated 278 Dillard’s locations and 18 clearance centers spanning 29 states, as well as its e-commerce site.

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Hillshire closes acquisition of Van’s Natural Foods

BY CSA STAFF

The Hillshire Brands Company has completed its acquisition of Van’s Natural Foods from Catterton Partners. Van’s is a leading better-for-you food brand with multiple product lines in frozen breakfast and snack foods.

"Van’s is a proven health and wellness brand that has attracted a loyal consumer following,” said Sean Connolly, president and CEO, The Hillshire Brands Company. "Adding Van’s delicious products and talented team to our organization will expand Hillshire Brands’ presence in the frozen category and beyond and help us to drive even greater health and wellness innovation.”

Van’s Natural Foods products include waffles, pancakes, cereal, crackers and snack bars. Van’s frozen breakfast and snack foods are available at grocery stores, mass merchandise stores and natural food retailers nationwide.

The Hillshire Brands’ portfolio includes Jimmy Dean, Ball Park, Hillshire Farm, State Fair, Sara Lee frozen bakery and Chef Pierre pies, as well as artisanal brands Aidells, Gallo Salame and Golden Island premium jerky.

Based in Chicago, the company generated approximately $4 billion in annual sales in fiscal 2013 and has more than 9,000 employees. It originally announced the transaction late last month.

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