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Kroger’s Q3 shows big improvement from last year

BY Allison Cerra

CINCINNATI — Kroger’s third-quarter revenue, including fuel, leaped 5.9% to $18.7 billion, the supermarket giant reported Thursday.

Excluding fuel sales, total sales increased 3.1% in the third quarter, which ended Nov. 6, the company noted. Earnings per share for the company rose to 32 cents per share, totaling $202.2 million. During the same period last year, Kroger reported a net loss of $874.9 million, or $1.35 per diluted share, after the company’s $1.05 billion write-down of its Ralphs division.

The strong quarterly results could be attributed to Kroger’s Customer 1st strategy, Kroger chairman and CEO David Dillon said. Back in 2007, the Kroger head said that the company’s business model was "creating a unique competitive advantage that positions us well for multiple-year growth and ongoing value creation [for our shareholders]."

"Our team increased identical-supermarket sales, earnings and earnings per share in the third quarter while controlling expenses to keep prices low for our customers. These results show Kroger’s strategy is working and that our core grocery business is strong and resilient," Dillon said of the third-quarter results.

Looking ahead, Kroger’s fiscal year 2010 guidance was lowered from a range of 2% to 3%, to a range of 2.5% to 3% for its same-store sales growth. The company’s earnings per share range also was narrowed from $1.60 to $1.80 per diluted share down to $1.65 to $1.78 per diluted share.

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Swiffer serves as premier sponsor of pet adoption program

BY Allison Cerra

CINCINNATI — Procter & Gamble’s Swiffer brand is helping dogs and cats find a loving home this holiday season.

As a sponsor for Macy’s Union Square 24th Annual Holiday Pet Adoption Windows, Swiffer has tapped its spokesman Cesar Millan, a dog behavior specialist, to assist with the pet adoption and offer new pet owners tips on how to create a pet-friendly environment in their home this holiday season, Swiffer said.

"Last year more than 300 pets were adopted through the Macy’s Holiday Pet Adoption Window program, and with amazing sponsors like Swiffer, this year, we hope to find even more pets warm and loving homes," said Amy Kule, Macy’s group VP national events and partnership marketing. "We are very excited to be working with Swiffer on this partnership as the Macy’s Pet Adoption Windows furthers their commitment to pet owners and goal of providing a clean environment for every pet."

Macy’s Holiday Pet Adoption Windows runs from Nov. 19 through Jan. 2.

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Target reports blowout November

BY DSN STAFF

MINNEAPOLIS — Same-store sales surged 5.5% at Target during November, exceeding the company’s guidance and analysts’ expectations for a low-single digit gain. The company said the number of people shopping its stores as measured by transactions increased nearly 4% and average transaction sizes also were up slightly with broad-based growth throughout the store.

The company is looking for December comps to increase in the low- to mid-single digit range.

“Guests are responding to our compelling holiday merchandising and marketing programs, and they love our new 5% REDcard Rewards program,” said Gregg Steinhafel, Target chairman, president and CEO. “We’re well prepared for the biggest month of the year, and believe we’re on track to achieve fourth-quarter sales and profitability consistent with our guidance on Nov. 17.”

An expanded assortment of food and consumables in an increasing number of stores as part of a remodeling program known as PFresh has been a boon to customer traffic, and those categories now are among the fastest growing at Target. The company said its November comparable-store sales performance was strongest in grocery, which experienced a mid-teen increase, and health care and beauty increased in the mid- to upper-single digits.

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