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Kroger names Lynn Gust president of Fred Meyer

BY Mike Troy

CINCINNATI — Long-time Fred Meyer executive Lynn Gust was named president of the 133-store Kroger division.

Gust, 59, joined Koriger in 1970 as a parcel clerk and most recently served as the company’s SVP of operations. Gust was appointed to that position in 2011 and prior to that he served as EVP of corporate merchandising and advertising. During his career Gust also served as VP of the Fred Meyer food group and SVP of store operations.

"Lynn’s long history with Fred Meyer and deep knowledge of our business will serve our customers well," said Rodney McMullen, president and COO of Kroger. "His passion for our employees and customers make him a great fit to carry on the Fred Meyer tradition."

The Fred Meyer tradition is that of a uniquely positioned retailer who large format multi-department stores defy neat classification although they bear the greatest resemblance to a Walmart supercenter. Stores range in size from 65,000-sq.-ft. to 250,000-sq.-ft. and offer roughly 250,000 products.

Fred Meyer’s headquarters are located in Portland and stores are located in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Alaska. The company has 30,000 employees.

Gust was born and raised in Vancouver, Wash. He is a member of the Portland State University Food Industry Leadership Center Advisory Board; on the board of directors of the Western Association of Food Chains; and on the board of directors of the Northwest Grocery Association.

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Lower cost significant driver in OTC use

BY Michael Johnsen

The lower cost of OTCs was cited as the primary reason consumers have increased and plan to increase their OTC usage, according to an online survey of more than 900 AccentHealth viewers conducted in September.

"Year over year, viewers appear to be getting more cost-conscious," said Natalie Hill, AccentHealth VP market research, noting that 39% of viewers suggested that lower costs associated with OTC medicines would drive increased usage in the coming year, as compared with 29% who cited cost as the main driver behind increased OTC use in the past year.

To see more Patient Views, click here.

Patient Views is a new, exclusive consumer insights feature that appears in every edition of DSN magazine, as well as the daily e-newsletter DSN A.M. If you could ask 4,000 patients anything at all, what would it be? Send your questions to [email protected].

Source: AccentHealth. To view the demographic breakdown of participants, click here.

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Walmart eyeing Turkish retailer Migros

BY Mike Troy

Turkish retailer Migros appears to fit Walmart’s acquisition criteria even if the timing of a potential deal is less than ideal.

Turkey’s leading retailer has been in the headlines a lot this year because the company’s private equity owner, BC Partners, is reportedly looking to dump its ownership position roughly four years after acquiring a majority stake. Various international retailers are said to have had discussions with BC Partners and Walmart is the latest, according to reports this week by the Financial Times, Reuters and other international sources.

As is often the case, reports about Walmart’s international intentions tend to take on a life of their own and the company never comments on speculation. That said, there tends to be fire where there is smoke and over the past decade similar rumors out of places such as Japan, China, Brazil, South Africa and Chile ultimately proved accurate.

If that proves to be the case with Migros, Walmart would pick up the type of retailer that has suited acquisition criteria, which is to say a dominant player in a new market (D&S in Chile, Massmart in South Africa) or an operator in an existing market (Netto in the United Kingdom) that enhances Walmart’s leadership position. In Turkey, Migros is a multi-format operator with a dominant market share that has more than 1,000 locations throughout the country.

"Migros is a unique investment opportunity, with its market leading position, strong and trusted brand, multi-format strategy, and extensive store network across Turkey," is what BC Partners senior partner Francesco Conte had to say back in 2008. "All of these factors make Migros ideally positioned to benefit from the country’s rapidly growing organized food retail market, the favorable demographic trends and the positive dynamics of the Turkish economy."

While Migros may be a good fit for Walmart and a transaction wouldn’t dent the company’s balance sheet, a possible deal comes amid an ongoing and expanding investigation into alleged violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act that has already cost Walmart $100 million. Walmart has offered no indication when the matter will be resolved.

Meanwhile, the international division continues to forge ahead. Walmart’s international sales and profits during the third quarter were characterized as solid and through the first nine months of the fiscal year sales were up 7.6% to $97.3 billion and operating income is up 9.6% to $4.3 billion. The company indicated that it is gaining market share in every country where it operates except China.

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