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Harvard Drug CEO retires, AmerisourceBergen executive steps in

BY Allison Cerra

DETROIT — A leading wholesale distributor of prescription and over-the-counter pharmaceuticals announced the retirement of its CEO.

Harvard Drug said that Randolph "Randy" Friedman will retire after leading the business for 23 years. Terrance Haas, an industry veteran who most recently served as AmerisourceBergen president and board member of the Healthcare Distribution Management Association will be Harvard Drug’s new chief executive.

“We are thrilled to bring on Terry Haas as Harvard Drug’s new CEO,” Friedman said. “I am proud to have led Harvard Drug’s growth for the last 23 years and I am confident that our customers will continue to receive the same high-quality service that they have come to expect. With an industry veteran like Terry, Harvard Drug is well positioned to continue its strong growth and broaden its value to consumers of healthcare services across the country. I look forward to supporting Terry and the team in ensuring a smooth transition.”

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Rain dampens discounter’s holiday performance

BY Gail Hoffer

CITY OF COMMERCE, Calif. — Third-quarter sales growth was hard to come by at 99 Cents Only as the extreme value retailer’s heavy concentration of stores in Southern California were negatively affected by unseasonably strong rains that hit the region prior to Christmas.

Total company sales for the period ended Dec. 25 increased 1.7% to $365 million while same store sales declined 0.7%. Company CEO Eric Schiffer said the comp decline in same-store sales was due to a reduction in the average number of transactions throughout the quarter that was exacerbated by heavy rains in the company’s major Southern California markets the final week before Christmas and an early freeze and adverse weather conditions led to reduced availability of product from produce suppliers.

Aside from the weak sales performance, Schiffer indicated the company made progress on several operational initiatives.

"We are pleased with our holiday assortment as well as the sales gains in our re-merchandised party section. Although we are still in the early stages of implementation of our new store systems, which will continue for the next two years, we are satisfied with our progress to date, and our system support and reliability showed material improvement," Schiffer said. "Of paramount importance is our ability to manage our costs against the fluctuations in our same-store sales, as demonstrated by our management team in the third quarter."

The company is scheduled to report third-quarter earnings on Feb. 2 and indicated it expects earnings per share to be between 37 cents and 38 cents, compared with 35 cents the prior year. At the end of the third quarter, 99 Cents Only operated 280 stores, consisting of 208 stores in California, 34 in Texas, 26 in Arizona and 12 in Nevada.

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Food City seeks to expand Healthy Living Kitchen

BY Antoinette Alexander

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Grocer Food City has inked a partnership with the University of Tennessee Medical Center to expand the Healthy Living Kitchen — a move that is expected to result in a significantly greater reach for Healthy Living Kitchen programs and educational efforts at schools, community events and Food City supermarkets throughout the region.

Consisting of a registered dietitian, cardiac nurse specialist and senior executive chef from UT Medical Center, the Healthy Living Kitchen team presents healthy cooking classes and provides information on nutrition, label reading and making the right choices while grocery shopping.

The expanded Healthy Living Kitchen program will include grocery shopping tours at select Food City locations, with a UT Medical Center registered dietitian informing consumers on how to read food labels, as well as providing information about healthier choices at the grocery store.

The partnership also will allow the Healthy Living Kitchen staff to deliver the message of healthy eating to Food City’s customer base and will reach Food City’s audience through its marketing efforts at such events as NASCAR races, the Knoxville Food Show and UT sports.

"Food City is excited to partner with UT Medical Center to bring about the expansion of this much needed program," stated Steven C. Smith, Food City president and CEO. "We’re proud to be a local, family-owned company employing more than 13,000 associates. As the leading supermarket in our region, we have a responsibility to our customers, associates and community to do all we can to educate them on the importance of making wise decisions with regard to their purchases. Many of the issues that affect our health and wellness are a direct result of our eating habits — good or bad. We feel this program will work hand in hand with our NuVal nutritional scoring system to provide consumers with the added insight necessary to make more informed choices for their families."

Food City’s NuVal system scores food on a scale of 1 to 100, taking into consideration more than 30 nutrients and evaluating the dietary importance of each to determine an overall nutritional quality score; the higher the score, the higher the nutrition. NuVal scores are displayed prominently on shelf price tags, scale labels and other in-store signage featuring the trademark blue hexagon design. NuVal has researched and scored more than 35,000 items.

"With Tennessee ranking as the fourth most obese state among adults, I’m proud to announce this partnership, which represents a commitment from both organizations to address the health needs of those we serve in this community," stated Joseph R. Landsman, president and CEO of UT Medical Center. "Together, we’ll expand the message of positive nutritional choices well beyond the walls of the medical center, reaching out to so many more people in the region, including the loyal Food City customer base and the thousands of Food City associates. We’re going to make a difference on behalf of the people of east Tennessee through the education provided by the Healthy Living Kitchen.

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