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Dollar General maintains momentum

BY Mike Troy

GOODLETTSVILLE, Tenn. — Surging profits and a 6.7% first-quarter same-store sales increase prompted Dollar General to raise its full-year profit forecast by 3 cents.

Dollar General shows no signs of slowing down this year as net sales increased 13% to $3.9 billion and net income increase 36% to $213 million. The 6.7% comp increase was driven by an increase in customer traffic and average transaction size, according to the company.

"Dollar General is starting off 2012 with strong performance in the first quarter due to excellent same-store sales growth of 6.7%, representing the fifth consecutive quarter of accelerating improvement," Dollar General chairman and CEO Rick Dreiling said. "We are pleased to raise our full-year financial outlook to now reflect adjusted [earnings per share] of $2.68 to $2.78. Our first quarter was strong, and we are pleased with our May sales performance."

The company had previously forecast full-year earnings in the range of $2.65 to $2.75.  "I believe we are positioned well to invest in the future of our business as we continue to redefine small-box retailing and reinforce Dollar General’s role as America’s general store," Dreiling said.

During the quarter, the company opened 128 new stores and remodeled or relocated 224 stores. In addition, a new distribution center in Alabama and a new leased distribution center in California began shipping merchandise to stores.

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CVS Caremark, VSA announce 2012 Annual All Kids Can Create Exhibition

BY Antoinette Alexander

WASHINGTON — VSA, the international organization on arts and disability, and an affiliate of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, along with CVS Caremark All Kids Can have announced the 102 students of all abilities that will be featured in the 2012 All Kids Can Create exhibition "What Inspires Me."

All Kids Can Create is an annual national program from which artwork submitted by students, ages 5 to 15 years, is selected to represent each state and the District of Columbia for a national art exhibition. This year, All Kids Can Create invited young people with and without disabilities to submit a piece of artwork under the theme "What Inspires Me" to encourage youth to reflect on what inspires them and express those inspirations through original art.

More than 3,000 students across the country submitted artwork for consideration. Two students from each state and the District of Columbia have been selected to participate in the exhibition. All of the artwork submitted this year is featured in an online gallery.

"CVS Caremark is proud to collaborate with VSA for the fifth year on All Kids Can Create, the only visual arts program of its kind that raises awareness in schools and in local communities about the importance of inclusion," stated Eileen Howard Boone, SVP corporate communications and community relations for CVS Caremark. "This program encourages children with and without disabilities to express themselves and fosters creativity, self-esteem and confidence through art, and showcases the positive impact arts education can have on children of all abilities."

Ten students representing the diversity of talent, creativity and abilities from across the nation will travel courtesy of VSA and CVS Caremark to Washington, D.C., for the official ribbon-cutting ceremony when the 2012 All Kids Can Create exhibition debuts at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library.

In addition, teachers with participating students were invited to submit essays on the importance of arts education and inclusive teaching. 

"What Inspires Me" is part of VSA and CVS Caremark’s All Kids Can Create campaign that encourages learning and community engagement through artistic expression. The program includes the Call for Art, artist-in-residence programs in schools and community events that expand access and learning through the arts for students with disabilities. CVS Caremark colleagues also participate in the program through volunteer activities that engage their communities and/or schools in building inclusive environments.

The 2012 All Kids Can Create exhibit will be on display at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library from Aug. 1 to 26, 2012.

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Clif Kid boosts Zbar Crispy line with new flavor

BY Allison Cerra

EMERYVILLE, Calif. — Clif Bar has expanded its Zbar Crispy line with a new cookies ‘n cream flavor.

The USDA-certified organic bar, made with 8 g of organic whole grains and vitamins and minerals — calcium, iron, zinc and vitamin D, does not contain artificial flavors or colors, sweeteners or preservatives, high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, trans fat or ingredients sourced from GMOs. It joins other kid-friendly Zbar Crispy flavors, including chocolate, chocolate chip and peanut butter.

"At Clif Kid, we want to make parents, jobs easier by providing nutritious and tasty snacks their kids will love,” Clif Kid brand director Jennifer Yun said. "Zbar Crispy cookies ‘n cream is a yummy new addition that delivers organic and wholesome ingredients in a favorite classic flavor."

Zbar Crispy cookies ‘n cream now is available for a suggested retail price of 89 cents per bar and $4.49 per 6-count box.

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