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A&P announces Q3 results, completion of Pathmark acquisition

BY Antoinette Alexander

MONTVALE, N.J. A&P announced on Thursday third quarter results and stated that the Pathmark integration is complete and the synergy realization is on track.

Sales for the quarter totaled $2.1 billion compared with $1.3 billion in the year-ago period. Same-store sales rose 1.9% for A&P and slipped 0.5% for Pathmark, when measured during the same period.

For the third quarter, excluding non-operating items, adjusted EBITDA was $78 million versus $20.5 million last year. Adjusted income from operations was $17.4 million versus an adjusted loss from operations of $12.1 million in last year’s third quarter. The current quarter results include $30 million of integration synergies.

Reported loss from continuing operations was $3 million compared with income of $73.1 million last year, which included a $106.1 million gain from the sale of Metro shares. Prior year’s results exclude the results of Pathmark to the date of acquisition.

“Despite the challenging economic environment, we delivered strong results in our third quarter with solid sales and year-over-year earnings improvement. We completed the integration of the Pathmark acquisition and look forward to future rewards of this strategic decision,” said Christian Haub, executive chairman of the board. “Clearly, the U.S. retail market is facing one of the most difficult years in 2009. Our strong strategic position in the Northeast and our successful format strategy prepare us for the challenges ahead and I remain confident in the longer-term prospects of the new A&P, as we celebrate our history 150th anniversary this year.”

The company operates 444 stores in eight states and the District of Columbia under the banners A&P, Waldbaum’s, Pathmark, Best Cellars, The Food Emporium, Super Foodmart, Super Fresh and Food Basics.

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Walmart moves forward with Operation Main Street Initiative

BY Michael Johnsen

BENTONVILLE, Ark. Walmart on Wednesday announced phase two of its Operation Main Street Initiative—a program designed to maintain the discounter’s “position as America’s low-price leader,” the company said.

“At Walmart, we’re committed to offering low prices every day, not just at Christmas,” stated John Agwunobi, Walmart SVP and president, health and wellness. “While many are still wary of Wall Street, Operation Main Street helps families coast-to-coast save on the items they need most. From January through December this year, our customers can count on us to work tirelessly every day to save them money so they can live better.”

Phase Two of Operation Main Street offers significant savings on products that people are likely to use in pursuit of their New Year’s resolutions, and includes rolled back prices on weight loss-themed consumables like Kellogg’s Special K Waffles and Yoplait Light Yogurt; gym equipment; leisure wear for the physically active; and smoking cessation products like NicoDerm.

Since November, Operation Main Street has saved consumers as much as $400 million, according to Walmart.

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Kroger analyzes loyalty card data to customize coupons

BY Jenna Duncan

CINCINNATI Kroger, working with the data collection and marketing company dunnhumbyUSA, which it co-owns, has started to directly target its customers with personalized coupon offers based on their shopping trends using Kroger’s loyalty card program.

While other grocery stores have long used a system that printed coupons related to customer purchases at check-out, dunnhumbyUSA analyzes shopping habits and also supports them with customer interviews in order to come up with strategies for sending out direct marketing coupons, promotions, and product placement and pricing.

“This level of personalization is a direct link to our customers no other U.S. grocery retailer can replicate,” Kroger CEO David Dillon said to investors Dec. 9.

More than 55 million people have signed up for Kroger loyalty cards in the 10 years the store chain has offered them.

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