Longs reaffirms growth plans

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. Longs Drugs’ chief executive officer, Warren Bryant, told shareholders Wednesday that the chain will continue to ramp up expansion the next few years and build its presence in core markets, including Hawaii.

Bryant made his comments at Longs’ annual meeting May 28 at its corporate home in Walnut Creek, Calif. The quick, 30-minute meeting was short on news but included one of Longs’ first references—albeit indirect—to Walgreens’ move into Hawaii last year.

Bryant touched on Longs’ recent store openings in Hawaii, a state it’s dominated for more than 50 years. “We opened six new stores there in 2007, bringing our total to 38,” he said. “Longs has had a strong presence in this market for many years and is taking steps to enhance that presence.” Walgreens opened its first store in Hawaii last November and said it plans to eventually open 25 to 30 in the state.

Longs plans to open up to 30 new stores chain-wide this year and expand its footprint an average of 7 percent per year over the next five years.

Longs also elected four members to its board of directors including Leroy Barnes Jr., former vice president and treasurer of PG&E Corporation; Murray Dashe, former chief executive officer of Cost Plus; Evelyn Dilsaver, former chief executive officer of Charles Schwab Investment Management and Donna Tanoue, vice chairman of Bank of Hawaii Corporation.

Longs reported an 80 percent increase in earnings of $23.5 million for its first quarter ended May 1 and an 8.5 percent increase in total revenue of $1.41 billion. Pharmacy benefit services led the way with a 67 percent increase in revenue of $187.3 million.

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