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Kroger and Harris Teeter close merger transaction

BY Michael Johnsen

CINCINNATI — Kroger and Harris Teeter supermarkets Wednesday morning announced that the merger transaction between the two companies was completed on Jan. 28, 2014. Under the terms of the merger agreement, Harris Teeter shareholders will receive $49.38 per share of Harris Teeter common stock.

As of Jan. 28 shares of Harris Teeter common stock ceased to trade on the New York Stock Exchange.

"We are pleased that our merger is complete and look forward to bringing together the best of Kroger and Harris Teeter to benefit our customers, associates and shareholders," Rodney McMullen, Kroger CEO, said. "This merger brings the exceptional Harris Teeter brand and a complementary base of stores in attractive markets to the Kroger family. We have long respected Harris Teeter’s customer orientation, friendly and professional associates, strong management team, and company values – which are consistent with ours. Together, through our Customer 1st strategy, we are going to be an outstanding combination."

The transaction allows Kroger to expand with the Harris Teeter brand and a base of 227 stores in the fast-growing and attractive southeastern and mid-Atlantic markets and in Washington, D.C.  Harris Teeter also operates distribution centers for grocery, frozen and perishable foods in Greensboro, N.C. and Indian Trail, N.C. and a dairy facility in High Point, N.C.  Harris Teeter will continue to operate its stores under the Harris Teeter brand name as a subsidiary of Kroger. Fred Morganthall, Harris Teeter president, will remain with Harris Teeter in that capacity. 

Harris Teeter had revenues of $4.7 billion for fiscal year 2013.

Together, the company will operate 2,641 supermarkets across 34 states and the District of Columbia. According to Kroger, there are no plans to close stores and Harris Teeter’s headquarters remains in Matthews, N.C.

With the close of the transaction, Harris Teeter chairman and CEO Thomas Dickson announced his retirement. "Tad has done an outstanding job as the CEO for the past 16 years," McMullen said. "During his tenure as CEO, the management team of Harris Teeter has more than doubled the sales of the company and increased the operating profit fourfold by building over 100 new stores, expanding into new markets and improving the overall operating performance of the company. We look forward to working closely with the management team to continue to expand the Harris Teeter brand."

Kroger and Harris Teeter also announced the resignation of John Woodlief, EVP, who has served as CFO since 1999. Prior to that time, he served as managing partner of the PricewaterhouseCoopers Carolinas offices. Independence rules concerning Woodlief’s previous position with PricewaterhouseCoopers, who serve as Kroger’s independent accountants, prohibit him from serving in a financial role with Kroger. He will pursue other interests and will be available for consultation to the company.

 

 

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Study: Merchandise returns cost retailers nearly $270 billion in lost sales

BY Marianne Wilson

IRVINE, Calif. — Merchandise returns in 2013 cost retailers in the United States more than $267 billion in lost sales. That’s one of the findings contained in the Retail Equation’s "2013 Consumer Returns in the Retail Industry" study, which analyzes results from the National Retail Federation’s annual survey on merchandise returns and the "2012 Canadian Retail Security Survey" from the Retail Council of Canada National Retail Federation.

The report found that retail fraud and abuse accounted for $9.1 billion to $16.3 billion in the U.S., an increase of 2.6% from last year.

“In the competitive world of retail, it is critical to understand how returns and return fraud reduce net sales and contribute to shrink – clear causes of lost profits,” Mark Hammond, chairman and CEO of the Retail Equation, said. “The results within this report offer the industry’s best look at merchandise return policies and procedures, as well as potential fraud and abuse. This information can be used by loss prevention professionals to compare and contrast their own program results to those reported here, with an eye toward reducing losses.”

The report showed a 15% increase in employee collusion versus last year, from 80.7% to 93.1%. This implies that exception reporting systems are not sufficiently preventing this type of fraud, according to Retail Equation.

The report also revealed that 4-out-of-5 main tender types (e.g., cash, gift card/merchandise credit, credit card, debit card and check) showed increased fraud. In fact, fraud increases outpaced decreases by 42%.

Click here for a complete copy of the report.

 

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Old Mother Hubbard debuts gourmet dog treats

BY Ryan Chavis

TEWKSBURY, Mass. — Old Mother Hubbard, a member of WellPet brands, will now offer three new varieties of dog treats in its product mix.

 

Dog owners can choose from Old Mother Hubbard Crispers, Soft Bakes and Fruit’ins — all of which feature a variety of tastes and textures. Old Mother Hubbard Gourmet Goodies are available in 6-oz. resealable packages for $5.00 and in the following flavors:

  • Crispers: The crunchy, cheesy treat is available in Cheddar, Chicken & Rosemary and Parmesan, Bacon & Tomato.
  • Soft Bakes: Cookies, which come in three flavors — Peanut Butter & Carob, Applesauce Oatmeal and Carrot & Pumpkin.
  • Fruit’ins: Cookie and fruit layers, which are available in Honey, Oatmeal & Blueberries and Honey, Apple & Bacon.

"Pet parents have trusted Old Mother Hubbard to give their best friends high-quality, natural dog biscuits, and now they can put that same trust into giving their pooches distinctive treats like those found in dog boutiques," Chanda Leary-Coutu, marketing communications manager for Old Mother Hubbard, said.

Old Mother Hubbard dog snacks are available nationwide at pet specialty stores and in Canada.

 

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