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Costco comps increase 4% in April

BY Alaric DeArment

ISSAQUAH, Wash. — Costco Wholesale Corp.’s sales grew 7% in April over April 2012, the club retailer said Thursday.

Costco reported sales of $7.98 billion for the four weeks that ended Sunday, compared with $7.48 billion during the same period last year. Sales for the 35-week period that ended Sunday were $69 billion, 9% higher than the $63.59 billion recorded last year.

Sales in the United States at continuously open stores since last April increased by 4%, while same-store sales for the 35 weeks that ended Sunday increased 6%.

The results, while positive, were relatively low compared with financial analysts’ expectations. In a note to investors Thursday, Citi analyst Deborah Weinswig noted that the 4% increase in same-store sales were "at the low-end" of Citi’s forecast of 4-6% growth and below an overall consensus of 4.9% growth, while they also took a 2% hit from external factors like gas prices and currency exchange rates. Weinswig wrote that sales were expected to remain slow this month due to unfavorable weather conditions.


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New Michigan store marks major milestone for Meijer

BY Alaric DeArment

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Meijer will open its 200th store next week, the mass merchandise retailer said Thursday.

Calling the opening of the Swartz Creek, Mich., store a "milestone," the company said it will open on May 16. The store is the first of six new stores the chain plans to open this year in Michigan, Indiana and Illinois.

The 190,000-sq. ft. store will include a full-service drive-through pharmacy offering free generic antibiotics, prenatal vitamins and drugs for diabetes and high cholesterol. Other items will include groceries, a gas station, pet items, general merchandise and others. The store will also sell locally grown produce.


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Taylor Farms expands salad kit line

BY Jason Owen

SALINAS, Calif. — Taylor Farms Retail this week debuted a new Italian Chopped Salad Kit with salami and cheese, expanding on the company’s chopped salad line. The new "Italian Chopped Salad Kit" is a blend of romaine lettuce, broccoli, red cabbage, celery, Italian cheese blend, green onions, salami and parsley.

The newest product in Taylor’s Chopped Salad Kit line is the result of extensive company research and input from consumers through the company’s website and social networks, the company stated.

"We knew our chopped salad kits were great, but frankly the response we’ve gotten from customers has been truly remarkable," said Vicky St.Geme, vice president of marketing, Taylor Farms Retail. "Consumers are connecting with the flavor combinations and the flexibility the kits offer to create snacks or full family meals by adding in proteins and grains."

Featuring fresh produce varieties and tasty mix-in ingredients, Taylor Farms Chopped Salad Kits have rapidly become one of the company’s most popular salad offerings. In addition to the new Italian blend, Taylor Farms’ chopped varieties include Asian, BBQ Ranch, Garden Vegetable, and Southwest. Chopped kits are available a grocery stores and retailers nationwide.


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