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Ralcorp appoints Keith Meister to board of directors

BY Allison Cerra

ST. LOUIS — A leading producer of private-brand foods and food service products has expanded its board of directors.

Ralcorp announced that Corvex Management LP founder and managing partner Keith Meister has been named to Ralcorp’s board, effective immediately. In addition to his appointment, Meister also will join the board’s strategy and financial oversight committee, which is responsible for the evaluation of strategic opportunities to drive shareholder value.

"Ralcorp has a proven track record of generating long-term shareholder value, and our Board remains committed to doing so in the future," Ralcorp board chairman J. Patrick Mulcahy said. "We have engaged in a series of productive discussions with Keith about our business and our growth prospects and are happy to welcome him to the board."

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Sam’s Club offers free women’s health screenings

BY Alaric DeArment

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Membership-based retailer Sam’s Club is offering free health screenings for women, the company said.

Sam’s Club said it would offer screenings worth $150 for both men and women, including those for thyroid-stimulating hormone to for potential women’s health issues due to issues with thyroid functionality, prostate-specific antigen to test for signs of prostate cancer in men, blood pressure, body mass index, total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, blood sugar and vision. In addition, the chain will give away more than 25,000 free breast self-exam tests with the screenings. The events will take place at every Sam’s Club with a pharmacy on Oct. 13.

"Many health issues affecting women often do not show symptoms and can be identified only with testing," Sam’s Club SVP health and wellness Jill Turner-Mitchael said. "For the second year in a row, Sam’s Club is committed to offering free screenings and kits that lift awareness of important women’s health concerns like breast cancer to better serve the communities in which we live and work."

The company noted that over the course of a lifetime, 1-in-8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer.


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Fred’s: September sales up, comps down

BY Allison Cerra

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Fred’s reported that its September sales rose 1% to $170.9 million, compared with the year-ago period. Comparable-store sales for the month, however, declined 3.8%, compared with an increase of 1.1% in September 2011.

Commenting on the results, Fred’s CEO Bruce Efird said the company experienced an "accelerate shift in sales of brand-name drugs to generics within the pharmacy department," which prompted the company’s comps decline; however, "pharmacy department script count continued to grow, and the department remains on financial forecast."

"As we look ahead, we are positioned for a positive impact on sales from the increased capital investments and marketing spending that we have planned for the last four months of our year," Efird said. "Anticipating an improvement in general merchandise and recognizing the brand-to-generic shift in the pharmacy, we now expect overall comparable-store sales for October and third-quarter earnings to be in the previously forecasted range."

During the month, Fred’s opened one store, two express pharmacy locations and closed one store.

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