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Costco chairman, founder Brotman passes away

BY Marianne Wilson
ISSAQUAH, Wash. — A retail legend has passed.
 
The co-founder and chairman of Costco Wholesale Club, Jeff Brotman, 74, died Tuesday morning. He died in his sleep at his home and the cause of his death wasn’t immediately known.  
 
Brotman's death came as a "complete shock," according to the Seattle Times.  On the Monday night prior, he had attended a dinner for about 2,000 Costco warehouse managers from around the world who are gathered this week at the Washington State Convention Center, the report said.
 
"The thoughts of Costco’s board, management and employees are with Jeff’s wife and family,” Costco said in a statement. The company did not say who would succeed Brotman as chairman. 
 
Brotman had retail in his blood from an early age. His father, Bernard Brotman, founded several specialty stores in the Tacoma Washington area. Brotman co-founded Costco Wholesale with Jim Sinegal, who served as the company's CEO until he stepped down in 2011. The two opened the first Costco warehouse club location in 1983, in Seattle, and built it into a global retail powerhouse. The company currently operates 736 warehouses, including 511 in the United States and Puerto Rico, 97 in Canada, 37 in Mexico, 28 in the United Kingdom, 25 in Japan, 13 in Korea, 13 in Taiwan, eight in Australia, two in Spain, one in Iceland and one in France.
     
Brotman previously served as chairman of the company's board from Costco's founding until 1993, when he became vice chairman of the company. Since December 1994, he served as chairman. 
     
Brotman was famous for his philanthropy, which spanned the educational, medical and cultural arenas. He and his wife were major donors to the Democratic Party. Brotman also supported other entrepreneurs, and was an early investor in Starbucks.
 
“I will miss Jeff immensely. He was a dear friend, mentor and a brother,” Howard Schultz, Starbucks’ executive chairman, said in a statement. “He was one of the earliest believers and investors in Starbucks and in me.”
 
Schultz also commented on Brotman's charitable endeavors, describing him as "a shining light in the community contributing so much to Seattle and the nation. We have lost a titan of our community.”
 
Click here to read more. 

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Publix cuts stock price as Q2 sales increase

BY Marianne Wilson

LAKELAND, Fla. — Florida's largest supermarket chain on Tuesday reported higher sales and revenues for its second quarter. Prior to releasing its results, the company cut the price of its stock.

Publix’s sales in the second quarter rose 3.6% to $8.4 billion, from last year’s $8.1 billion. Same-store sales increased 1.6%.  

Net earnings increased 3.5% to $495.1 million, compared to $478.2 million in the year-ago period. 

Publix’s sales for the first half of 2017 were $17.1 billion, a 1.5% increase over the year-ago period. Comparable-store sales for the first half of 2017 decreased 0.3%.

Net earnings for the first half of 2017 were down 0.9% to $1.05 billion. Earnings per share was unchanged at $1.37 per share.

Publix’s stock price decreased from $39.15 per share to $36.05 per share. Publix stock is not publicly traded and is made available for sale only to current associates and members of its board of directors. Unlike publicly traded stock, Publix adjusts its own stock price based on what auditors feel the company is valued at.

“This has been a tough quarter for supermarket companies in the stock market,” said Publix CEO & president Todd Jones. “We continue to be focused on growing sales and profits while providing premier customer service.”

Publix is privately owned and operated by its 188,000 employees. Currently, it has 1,150 stores in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia.
 

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P&G brings Child-Guard lids to Tide PODS, Gain Flings tubs

BY David Salazar

CINCINNATI — Procter & Gamble on Tuesday unveiled its latest effort to ensure consumer safety, launching its Child-Guard child-resistant tub closure on two of its products. The Child-Guard tubs are now launching on its Tide PODS and Gain Flings tubs in an effort to reduce accidents related to its liquid laundry packs, the company said. The lids require individuals to squeeze both sides of the lid and twist at the same time to open.

“Nothing is more important to us than the safety of the families who use our products,” P&G North America VP fabric care Sundar Raman said. “Since last year’s launch of the innovative Child-Guard bag for liquid laundry pacs, we’ve been working hard to launch this same technology for our tubs. Knowing that access is a key factor in accidental exposures, we’ve made the new Child-Guard tub easy to close, but harder to open so parents and caregivers can both conveniently and safely store the product, further driving down accidents. With this key change, child-resistant packaging will now be available for all of our laundry pac products.”

P&G’s safety efforts have included the introduction of bags with a Child-Guard zipper and the addition of a bitter substance to the pac’s outer film, as well as an increase in film strength to delay the release of its contents. The company said these efforts, as well as work with Safe Kids Worldwide, the Alzheimer’s Association and the American Cleaning Institute and poison control centers, has led to a 39% reduction in accidents related to its liquid laundry pacs.

“Safety starts at home, so we are pleased to see advances in child-resistant packaging for household products that provide families with extra protection,” Safe Kids interim president Torine Creppy.  “When it comes to protecting kids around liquid laundry packets, we can’t stress enough the importance of keeping them up, closed and out of children’s reach and sight.”

The new tubs hit shelves this summer and will be widely available by the end of the year, the company said.

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