Publix promotes DiGrazia to VP finance
LAKELAND, Fla. — Publix has promoted one of its executives.
Gino DiGrazia, who currently serves as VP and controller of Publix’s business analysis and reporting, has been promoted to VP finance. In addition to his current responsibilities for business analysis and reporting, DiGrazia assumes many of the responsibilities previously held by Kelly Underhill, director of tax and treasury, who retired from Publix on March 30.
"Developing our leaders for future opportunities is important to our long-term success," Publix CFO David Phillips said. "I am pleased we have leaders like Gino who are prepared to take on new roles."
DiGrazia joined Publix in 1992 as manager of business analysis and reporting. In 1997, he was promoted to director of business analysis and reporting until being named VP and controller of business analysis and reporting in 2002.
Sam’s Club to launch online pet care portal
TAMPA, Fla. — Sam’s Club has signed a deal with Triad Retail Media to provide pet care information on its website, Triad said Wednesday.
The companies are launching Pet Central on SamsClub.com and are partnering with Louise Murray, author of the book "Vet Confidential: An Insider’s Guide to Protecting Your Pet’s Health" and head of the ASPCA’s Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital in New York, to develop social media content focus on caring for pets. Triad said Pet Central was designed to provide pet owners with an interactive shopping experience through which they can learn about how to properly care for pets while creating a direct path to purchase and recommending products at Sam’s Club. Meanwhile, customers can interact with Murray on such topics as teaching puppies not to bite, calming hyperactive kittens and properly boarding pets while on vacation.
"Dynamic, interactive and information-rich content centers have become a critical element of the shopper marketing strategy for retailers and brands," Triad CEO Greg Murtagh said. "With the new Pet Central, Sam’s Club has built one of the most informed base of customers when it comes to pet care, which ultimately helps drive sales online and in-store. Triad is thrilled to be involved with such an innovative project."
Target tops earnings view even after earlier increase
MINNEAPOLIS — First-quarter earnings at Target exceeded a profit forecast the company increased last month after a strong start to the quarter.
Sales increased 6.1% to $16.5 billion and same-store sales advanced 5.3%. The sales momentum, combined with rigid expense control, enabled the company to report first-quarter earnings per share of $1.04, which exceeded a guidance range that had been increased to 96 cents to $1.02 from 88 cents to 98 cents in early April, following better-than-expected same-store sales during the first two months of the quarter.
"We’re very pleased with our first quarter earnings, which benefited from better-than-expected sales," said Gregg Steinhafel, Target’s chairman, president and CEO. "While our outlook for the remainder of 2012 reflects continued economic uncertainty, we are confident in our strategy, keenly focused on delivering an affordable and inspirational merchandise assortment to our guests and committed to making thoughtful investments in our U.S. and Canadian business segments that we expect will reward our shareholders over time."
The company also exceeded its adjusted earnings forecast, which takes into account expenses incurred in relation to next year’s entry into Canada. Adjusted earnings per share were $1.11 in first quarter, and increase of 11.5% from the 99 cents during the prior year years. The $1.11 figure exceeded guidance of $1.04 to $1.10 that had been increased in early April from a range of 97 cents to $1.07.
Gross margins declined slightly to 30.2% from 30.4% as lower margin food and consumables accounted for a larger percentage of overall sales. The decline was more than offset by a reduction in expense as which declined to 19.9% compared with 20.4% the prior year.
The solid first quarter showing prompted the company to raise its full year earnings forecast by 5 cents to a range of $4.10 to $4.30 or, excluding cost related to Canada, $4.60 to $4.80.
Target ended the first quarter with 1,764 stores.