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Harris Teeter posts fiscal 2013 results

BY Antoinette Alexander

MATTHEWS, N.C. — Grocer Harris Teeter posted an increase in fiscal 2013 sales and same-store sales.

For fiscal 2013, sales rose 3.8% to $4.71 billion from $4.54 billion in the year-ago period. Same-store sales for the year increased 2.23%.

Fourth quarter sales rose 4.5% to $1.19 billion from $1.14 billion in the year-ago period. The increase in sales was fueled by an increase in same-store sales and sales from new stores, partially offset by store closings. Same-store sales increased 1.49% for the quarter.

Net earnings for the year totaled $107.9 million, compared with net earnings of $82.5 million for fiscal 2012. Net earnings for fiscal 2013 were comprised of earnings from continuing operations of $109 million, or $2.21 per diluted share, and losses from discontinued operations of $1.1 million. The merger related and acquisition costs reduced earnings from continuing operations after tax in fiscal 2013 by $6.6 million, or 13 cents per diluted share.

Net earnings for the fourth quarter were $21.1 million, or 43 cents per diluted share. The merger related and acquisition costs reduced net earnings in the fourth quarter by $5.9 million, or 12 cents per diluted share, the company stated. Net earnings for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012 totaled $22.8 million and were comprised of earnings from continuing operations of $23.7 million, or 48 cents per diluted share and losses from discontinued operations of $0.9 million.

“We are pleased with our results for fiscal 2013 and the opportunities ahead of us with the Kroger merger and our recent store acquisitions. Our pricing and promotional strategies were effective during fiscal 2013 in driving unit sales and customer visits. On a comparable-store basis, we experienced increased unit sales compared to fiscal 2012 and our store brand penetration continues to improve. We believe these positive results are attributable to our continuing commitment to our customers to deliver outstanding values and excellent customer service,” stated Thomas W. Dickson, chairman and CEO.

On July 8, the company and Kroger entered into a definitive merger agreement under which Kroger will acquire all outstanding shares of the company for $49.38 per share in cash. The terms of the merger agreement were approved by the boards of both companies and has been approved by the company’s shareholders; however, it remains subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of calendar year 2013.

On Sept. 12, the company announced that its operating subsidiary, Harris Teeter, entered into an agreement with Greenbax Enterprises, and certain of its subsidiaries to purchase six Piggly Wiggly store locations and one future store location in the Charleston, S.C. area. The acquisition was completed with five of the locations being re-opened shortly after the acquisition date. The remaining two locations are expected to be opened during fiscal 2014.

 

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NY city council votes in favor of raising cigarette purchase age to 21

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK — New York City Council voted on Wednesday to hike the minimum age for buying cigarettes from 18 years to 21 years.

The bill also increases the minimum purchasing age to 21 years for certain tobacco products and electronic-vapor smokes, according to published reports. Mayor Michael Bloomberg has 30 days to sign the bills into law and the minimum age bill will take effect 180 days after enactment.

“Between 2001 and 2011, New York City cut the proportion of public high school students who smoke by more than half. However, the decline in youth smoking in our city has stalled. We know that tobacco dependence can begin very soon after a young person first tries smoking so it’s critical that we stop young people from smoking before they ever start. By increasing the smoking age to 21 years we will help prevent another generation from the ill health and shorter life expectancy that comes with smoking,” Bloomberg said.

According to health officials, more than 80% of the adult smokers in New York City began smoking before the age of 21 years. So, the new restrictions could protect teens and prevent many from ever starting to smoke.

 

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AmerisourceBergen reports Q4 results

BY Antoinette Alexander

VALLEY FORGE, Pa. — AmerisourceBergen announced on Thursday that fourth quarter revenue rose 28.3% as it gains “strong momentum” heading into fiscal 2014.

“In our September quarter, we delivered strong results and successfully implemented the first phase of our new expanded contract with Walgreens,” stated Steven Collis, president and CEO. “Our performance in the quarter and the full year, combined with the opportunities we have on the horizon, drive strong momentum heading into fiscal 2014. Our innovative programs and services, strategic relationship with Walgreens and Alliance Boot GmbH, operational excellence and financial discipline give us great confidence in our ability to continue to deliver tremendous value to our customers, suppliers, associates and shareholders.”

As reported by Drug Store News, AmerisourceBergen and Walgreens officially announced in early September the launch of a 10-year relationship to distribute pharmaceuticals to more than 8,100 Walgreens locations across the country.

During the quarter ended Sept. 30, revenue totaled $24.5 billion, up 28.3% compared with the year-ago period. This boost reflects a 34% increase in AmerisourceBergen Drug Corp. revenue, and a 12% increase in AmerisourceBergen Specialty Group revenue.

Operating income during the quarter totaled $318.6 million, flat versus the year-ago period.

Adjusted diluted earnings per share from continuing operations were up 2.6% to 79 cents in the quarter compared with 77 cents in the previous fiscal year’s fourth quarter.

For fiscal year 2013, adjusted earnings per share from continuing operations were $3.14, up 6.1% compared with the prior year GAAP diluted earnings per share. Revenue totaled $88 billion, up 12.7%. Operating income decreased 2.9%.

 

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