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Former Duane Reade executives found guilty of fraud

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK Former Duane Reade CEO Tony Cuti was convicted Tuesday of conspiracy and securities fraud, according to published reports. Former Duane Reade CFO William Tennant, who also was convicted, was found guilty of securities fraud.

Both face up to 20 years in prison. Cuti is to be sentenced on Nov. 15.

Tennant is to be sentenced on Dec. 6. The judge permitted both men to remain free on bond until they are sentenced.

Reid Weingarten, a lawyer for Cuti, and John Kenney, a lawyer for Tennant, both declined comment about the verdict after court was adjourned, according to reports.

Afederal jury in New York found Cuti and Tennant guilty of scheming to falsely inflate the income and reduce the expenses that the Manhattan-based drug chain reported to investors.

From November 2000 through June 2005, Cuti and Tennant reported inflated income from fraudulent real estate transactions and reduced company expenses through fictitious credits from vendors, prosecutors said.

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Dollar General reports strong Q1

BY Allison Cerra

GOODLETTSVILLE, Tenn. Net income for Dollar General rose nearly 64% for the first quarter of fiscal 2010.

Dollar General reported Tuesday that for the 13 weeks ended April 30, net income rose to $136 million, or 39 cents per diluted share. Conversely, sales increased 11.9% to $3.11 billion in first quarter 2010  compared with $2.78 billion in the 2009 first quarter. Same-store sales increased 6.7% in the 2010 quarter and 13.3% in the 2009 quarter, with customer traffic and average transaction amount contributing to the same-store sales increases in both periods. Sales were strongest in the consumables and seasonal categories.

Meanwhile, operating profit increased by 29% to $290.7 million, or 9.3% of sales, compared with $224.9 million, or 8.1% of sales, in the 2009 first quarter. Excluding the expenses relating to the secondary offering discussed above, first quarter 2010 operating profit would have been $305.8 million, or 9.8% of sales.

“Dollar General’s first-quarter performance marks a great start to the year. Our first-quarter sales were ahead of our expectations. Our same-store sales growth of 6.7% for the quarter was on top of 13.3% growth in the first quarter 2009,” said Rick Dreiling, chairman and CEO. “We generated these positive results by continuing to provide our customers with a convenient shopping experience at everyday low prices. Our strong first-quarter results, coupled with our consistent track record, give us confidence to raise our full-year outlook for 2010.”

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Winn-Dixie opens second prototype store in Florida

BY Allison Cerra

MIAMI Shortly after Winn-Dixie unveiled its first prototype store in Louisiana, the Florida-based chain has taken the new concept to the Miami area.

The new Winn-Dixie prototype store, which opens its doors in Margate, Fla., this week, features more specialty items than a regular Winn-Dixie supermarket. The location also used to be the home of a Publix store.

“This store really speaks volumes about the fresh and local strategy we’ve been working on,” said Winn-Dixie CEO Peter Lynch to The Miami Herald. “It really gets this new brand image out there with the consumers. As they see these new stores, they can see clearly where we’re heading for the future.”

The Margate store offers upgraded departments and expanded features, as well as products that reflect the neighborhood’s cultural diversity. As the grocer moves forward with its aggressive remodel plan it will continue its focus on neighborhood merchandising. Features specific to the new Margate Winn-Dixie include:

  • Wood-burning rotisserie
  • Expanded deli department featuring olive and bruschetta bar
  • Wing bar
  • Wide assortment of specialty desserts, including imported delicacies from Italy and a customizable photo machine for cakes, cupcakes and other baked goods
  • Large selection of Hispanic and kosher items
  • Traditional frozen foods and dairy departments
  • Whole bean coffee station
  • Candy shoppe
  • Floral department
  • Seasonal merchandise and specialty gift section.

The original prototype store, located in Covington, La., opened its doors in February. The 55,000-sq.-ft., state-of-the-art supermarket also was the first store in Louisiana to receive the Environmental Protection Agency’s GreenChill certification.

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