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Family Dollar, McLane enter partnership

BY Allison Cerra

MATTHEWS, N.C. — Family Dollar is gearing up to offer its customers a broader selection of merchandise, including refrigerated and frozen food, through a strategic partnership with McLane.

Beginning in September, McLane, a provider of grocery and food service supply chain solutions, will provide a robust offering across the retailer’s more than 7,200 locations in 45 states, but will tailor the assortment to local markets. Additionally,  through its partnership with McLane, Family Dollar will establish a national supply chain for refrigerated and frozen merchandise that will provide both the scale and consistent service to propel this growing segment of the business.

"We are broadening our assortment and increasing our relevancy to our customers," Family Dollar chairman and CEO Howard Levine said. "McLane’s national footprint and broad distribution network make them a great partner to support our growth initiatives."

McLane grocery president Mike Youngblood said the partnership is a "significant opportunity" for the company.

"Servicing all of the Family Dollar Stores will involve 19 of our distribution centers across the country," oungblood said. "Our nationwide reach combined with our industry-leading cold chain solution and vast SKU offerings makes this an ideal fit for both of our companies."

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Q2 sales jump for Harris Teeter

BY Allison Cerra

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Supermarket retailer Harris Teeter experienced a boost in second-quarter sales, as well as sales for the first half of fiscal year 2012, the company said.

Sales for the second quarter ended April 1, sales rose 6.7% to $1.12 billion, compared with the year-ago period, while the 26-week period experienced a sales boost of 7.6% to $2.24 billion, compared with the same period last year.

Harris Teeter said sales during the second quarter and first half of the year were driven by an increase in comparable-store sales and sales from new stores, partially offset by store closings. For instance, second-quarter comps increased more than 3.9% and also rose more than 4.6% during the first half of the year.

Harris Teeter also reported an increase in second-quarter net earnings, rising from $29.9 million in second quarter 2011 to $30.3 million; while net earnings for the 26 weeks ended April 1 totaled $43.9 million, dropping from $68 million in the similar period last year. The company said despite the decline in net earnings during the first half of fiscal year 2012, Harris Teeter’s operating performance and financial position "provides the flexibility to continue with its store development program for new and replacement stores along with the remodeling and expansion of existing stores." The company said plans to continue its expansion of its existing markets, including the Washington, D.C., metro market area, which incorporates northern Virginia, the District of Columbia, southern Maryland and coastal Delaware.

During the first half of fiscal 2012, the company opened three new stores and closed one store. Since the end of the second quarter of fiscal 2011, Harris Teeter opened six new stores and closed two stores, for a net addition of four stores. The company operated 206 stores as of the end of the second quarter of fiscal 2012. Looking ahead, Harris Teeter said it remains cautious in its expectations, but will continue to refine its merchandising strategies to respond to the changing shopping demands.

"We are very pleased with our results for the quarter," Harris Teeter board chairman and CEO Thomas Dickson said. "Our pricing and promotional strategies continue to be effective in driving unit sales, customer visits and increasing market share. Our operating profit margin improvement for the year was driven by the reduction in our selling, general and administrative expense margin realized through the leverage created from the additional sales and our emphasis on cost controls. We believe these positive results are a result of our continuing commitment to our customers to deliver outstanding values and excellent customer service."

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Weis reports boost in Q1 net income

BY Allison Cerra

SUNBURY, Pa. — Weis Markets experienced a jump in its net income and operating income during the first quarter ended March 31, the retailer said.

First-quarter net income realized a 7.7% gain to $20 million, compared with the year-ago period, while earnings per share rose 5 cents to 74 cents for the quarter. Weis said its net income and operating income increases were prompted by "improved store level efficiencies, increased productivity, disciplined promotions and marketing and a decrease in depreciation expenses resulting when it changed depreciation methods from accelerated to straight line."

Weis also reported that for the 13-week period ended March 31, sales increased 0.3% to $661.6 million, while its comparable-store sales increased 0.9%, compared with the same period last year.

"Our company continues to generate strong earnings increases, as we have over the past three years," Weis’ president and CEO David Hepfinger said. "While our market share remains stable, our first-quarter sales were clearly impacted by our customers’ continuing caution due to the slow pace of the economy’s recovery and to an unusually mild winter."

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