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Kroger boosts quarterly dividend

BY Allison Cerra

CINCINNATI — Kroger announced that its board of directors has raised the company’s quarterly dividend by about 30%, to 15 cents per share.

The dividend will be paid on Dec. 1 to shareholders of record as of the close of business on Nov. 15. Since reinstating dividends in 2006, Kroger has increased the dividend each year and expects to continue to do so.

"This substantial dividend increase demonstrates the confidence of our Board of Directors that the Customer 1st strategy will produce strong returns for shareholders," Kroger chairman and CEO David Dillon said. "The 30% increase demonstrates our ability to continue to generate strong free cash flow and operating results."

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Survey shows consumers likely to buy products touting ‘made in USA’ claim

BY Allison Cerra

FORT LEE, N.J. — The majority of shoppers take notice of such packaging claims as "made in the USA," and most of them are more likely to purchase a product after observing such a claim, according to new research conducted by Perception Research Services International.

While the number of survey respondents that notice "made in the USA" claims on product packaging were at similar levels as last year (83% versus 80% in the year-ago period), 76% claimed that they are more likely to purchase such a product because it "help[s] the economy," yet the products the respondents said they would prefer to purchase — if American-made — suggest that quality and safety may be the true motivating factors. These include food, medicine and personal care items, PRS said.

Breaking down demographics, shoppers that are older than 35 years are the most likely to be positively influenced by the "made in the USA" claim and the most negatively influenced by a similar claim, such as "made in China," PRS found. PRS also noted that it’s not clear if those ages 18 to 34 years "see the world differently based on their collective experiences and influences, or if they simply have not yet reached an age where they’re affected by these considerations."

"Whether it is for quality assurance, to boost the economy, or out of patriotism, buying American-made products is becoming quite fashionable among U.S. shoppers," PRS EVP Jonathan Asher said. "Particularly for products that are ingested, such as food, beverages and medicines — if you make it here, make that clear — that is, include a ‘made in the USA’ mention on your package (and possibly other marketing communications) so that shoppers are aware of that fact."

The survey was conducted in July among more than 1,400 consumers, ages 18 years and older, drawn from a nationally representative online sample in the United States.

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Sanofi Pasteur enlists actor Chris O’Donnell in flu vaccine campaign

BY Alaric DeArment

SWIFTWATER, Pa. — The vaccines division of French drug maker Sanofi has signed a deal with actor Chris O’Donnell to promote its flu vaccination products, the company said.

Sanofi Pasteur’s campaign includes an effort to build awareness of influenza and vaccine options, including the company’s Fluzone Intradermal vaccine, for adults through the age of 65 years. O’Donnell has appeared in such movies as "Fried Green Tomatoes" and "Kinsey," and more recently in such television shows as "NCIS: Los Angeles."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends flu vaccinations for everyone ages 6 months and older. However, according to a recent GfK Roper telephone survey of 663 adults, while 67% of those through 64 years of age say their biggest fear is spreading the virus to loved ones, 61% say they are not vaccinated against it. According to health experts, infants and elderly people are considered particularly at risk of serious complications, including death, from influenza.


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