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Costco takes full ownership of Mexican unit

BY Allison Cerra

ISSAQUAH, Wash., and MEXICO CITY — Costco Wholesale has agreed to buy out Controladora Comercial Mexicana’s 50% share interest in Costco de Mexico, a joint venture, for about $760.4 million.

In addition, Costco Mexico has declared a cash dividend of approximately $340.85 million, 50% payable to a subsidiary of Costco Wholesale and 50% to CCM. Costco Wholesale will use the dividend proceeds and existing cash and investment balances to fund the purchase. CCM will use the dividend and sale proceeds to pay down debt.

The Costco Mexico joint venture has been 50% owned by each of Costco Wholesale and CCM and operated by Costco Wholesale. The closing is subject to the approvals of the Mexican Federal Competition Commission and the shareholders of CCM. Guillermo Gonzalez Nova and Carlos Gonzalez Zabalegui, respectively chairman and CEO of CCM, will continue as members of the board of directors of Costco Mexico. Jaime Gonzalez Solana will continue as CEO of Costco Mexico.

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Survey: When it comes to grocery shopping, dad’s role evolves

BY Allison Cerra

BOSTON — Dads are taking on a new role: primary grocery shopper.

According to Cone Communications’ "2012 Year of the Dad Trend Tracker," more than half of fathers surveyed said they are the primary grocery shopper in the household (52%) and 1-in-3 moms said their partners have had more influence on grocery store purchases over the last few years (35%). Before heading out to stores, Cone Communciations said that dads surveyed also exhibited the following behaviors:

  • Sixty-three percent of dads said they create a detailed shopping list (versus 65% of moms);

  • More than half of dads surveyed said they collect coupons or read circulars (56%), versus 62% of moms. After price and quality, respondents also noted that the No. 1 purchase influence is a coupon (37%), rather than product benefits (20%) or brand name (14%);

  • Fifty-two percent of dads plan meals for the week, compared with 46% of moms; and

  • Almost one-quarter of dads (24%) perform background research on grocery products, compared with 11% of moms.

"This research goes against all stereotypes of the ‘Father Knows Best’ dad who doesn’t concern himself with domestic responsibilities," Cone Communications president Bill Fleishman said. "Marketers need to recognize the growing number of dads in the supermarket aisles who are taking their roles seriously and can benefit from brands who provide tools and shortcuts to make shopping easier."

When it comes to how they shop, most fathers surveyed said they turn to in-store promotions (57%), advertising (50%) and such traditional media as newspapers, magazines and television (40%) when making purchasing decisions. When looking at all online channels together, however, it turns out more than 2-in-5 dads (44%) seek out online sources — online media (18%), product websites (15%) and social networks (11%) — for information.

"Marketing to the sexes has always been looked at as needing two distinct approaches, but the lines are blurring," Fleishman said. "Roles may be shifting within the household, but we’re finding that dads are not acting so differently from moms in their approach to grocery shopping. This is good news for marketers because it means we don’t have to rewrite the playbook. By understanding the nuances between them, we can actually use the same strategies to reach the primary grocery shopper in the household, whether it’s mom or dad."

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Meijer celebrates 50th anniversary of supercenter concept

BY Antoinette Alexander

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — It has been 50 years since Hendrik and Fred Meijer opened "Thrifty Acres" in Grand Rapids, Mich., marking the birth of the nation’s pioneering supercenter and an innovative concept that grew into a retail phenomenon.

"They didn’t realize it at the time, but our father and grandfather were making history when they opened ‘Thrifty Acres’ in June 1962," stated Hank Meijer, co-chairman. "The store offered groceries and general merchandise and enabled customers to enjoy ‘one-stop shopping.’"

Since then, the retailer has followed a course of steady growth, expanding into five Midwest states and employing more than 60,000 people in 198 stores, four distribution complexes and several manufacturing facilities.
During the last few years, Meijer has invested in new and remodeled stores, expanded distribution facilities and new technology to help serve its customers better.

"We have always tried to leverage innovation to improve the shopping experience," added co-chairman Doug Meijer. "From the introduction of checkout scanners in the 1970s to the more recent launch of digital technologies, such as our Meijer Find-It App and Mperks digital coupon program, we have worked hard to help our customers save money."

Meijer also has been known as a company that supports the communities where its customers and team members work and live. Each year, Meijer donates more than 6% of its net profit back to the communities it serves through a variety of charitable partnerships.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first supercenter at its original location, Meijer will host a customer appreciation picnic on June 16 at its 28th Street store. This store opened in August 2010 and replaced the original store, which was remodeled and opened as the first supercenter on June 6, 1962. Some of the original wooden arches that supported the roof of the original store now welcome customers at the parking lot entrance.

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