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Diabetic kidney disease on rise in United States

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK — Despite the expansion of the diabetes drug market over the past 20 years, the rate of diabetic kidney disease has become more prevalent in the United States.

According to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, lead study author Ian de Boer and fellow researchers found that although more people in the country are being diagnosed with diabetes, and more diabetes drugs are on the market, there has been no progress in curbing kidney disease in the diabetes population. de Boer noted that diabetic kidney disease accounts for almost half of the cases of end-stage kidney failure in the United States, while approximately 60% of patients with end-stage kidney disease die within five years of onset, he said.

de Boer, who also serves as assistant professor of medicine in the division of nephrology at the Kidney Research Institute, as well as an adjunct assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Washington in Seattle, said that diabetic kidney disease occurs develops in about 40% of people with diabetes.

"Improvements in reaching therapeutic targets in diabetes management have not translated into a decline in diabetic kidney disease," de Boer said. "The results of our research don’t suggest that standards of diabetes care for controlling blood sugar levels, high blood pressure, and cholesterol should be changed. What the findings suggest is that these treatments alone are not doing an effective job of reducing diabetic kidney disease, and researchers need to find additional ways to do that," de Boer said.

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At shareholders meeting, Kroger emphasizes focus on customers

BY Allison Cerra

CINCINNATI — Kroger CEO David Dillon said the company will continue to focus on customer loyalty, after reporting last week that it saw identical-store sales increase for 30 consecutive quarters.

During its shareholders meeting on Thursday, Dillon said the company will build its future growth around its Customer 1st strategy, which emphasizes "[our] people, products, prices and the shopping experience."

"Our strategy is really to grow our relevancy to our customers," Dillon was quoted as saying by the Associated Press. "That becomes our bigger mission; to the extent that leads to new markets, great."

Amid its positive first-quarter results, Kroger last week increased its earnings guidance to $1.85 to $1.95 per diluted share for the full year.

In related news, Kroger declared a quarterly dividend of 10.5 cents, payable on Sept. 1 to shareholders of record on Aug. 15.

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Whole Foods announces goal of 1,000 U.S. stores

BY DSN STAFF

AUSTIN, Texas — Whole Foods Market co-CEO Walter Robb told investors at a Jefferies Global Consumer Conference that the 300-store chain is expected to grow to 1,000 stores in the United States.

The organic grocer sees opportunity in Canada as well, and Robb said it expects to grow its store count there from six to 35.

As reported by Reuters on Wednesday, Robb said the tumult in the commercial property market has created opportunities for companies looking to expand, and Whole Foods has identified locations where it "can put some bets down and take advantage of that," Robb said. However, he added, the chain has left itself flexibility room to exit leases should the economy significantly worsen.

"We have some contingency plans so that if we needed to, we could slow down," Robb said, who added that leases now include exit and buyout clauses.

Robb said Whole Foods would give more detail on growth plans on the company’s next quarterly earnings call.

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