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Report: Cerberus eyeing Harris Teeter grocery chain

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK — Several months after acquiring Supervalu, Cerberus Capital Management is reportedly interested in about a half-dozen grocery chains for potential bids, including Harris Teeter, according to a Wall Street Journal article.

A person familiar with the matter told the WSJ that Cerberus sees adding stores as a way to trim costs through additional scale while creating turnaround opportunities.

In March, AB Acquisition, which is an affiliate of Cerberus Capital Management, acquired from Supervalu the Albertsons, Acme, Jewel-Osco, Shaw’s and Star Market stores and related Osco and Sav-on in-store pharmacy operations — a move that reunited all Albertsons stores under one operator.

 

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Sears Holdings sales decrease in Q1

BY Alaric DeArment

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. — Black turned to red for Kmart parent company Sears Holdings as the company reported losses of $279 million for first-quarter 2013, compared with a $189 million profit in first-quarter 2012.

At the same time, despite a 3.6% decline in comps during the quarter for the company’s U.S. business, online business for its Sears.com and Kmart.com website grew by 20%, and members of its Shop Your Way loyalty program generated more than 60% of sales.

"Our recent financial performance has not been acceptable, although we have seen some positive momentum as sales per member increased, and our online business grew 20% in the quarter," Sears Holdings chairman and CEO Eddie Lampert said. "During the quarter, we have accelerated our activity to transform Sears Holdings into a leading integrated retailer that fosters relationships with members through our Shop Your Way platform."

Part of that, Lampert said, includes new mobile services like Member Assist, which allows members of the loyalty program to communicate directly with its store staff remotely.

During the quarter, the whole company had sales of $8.5 billion, down by $818 million from first-quarter 2012, primarily due to there being fewer Kmart and Sears stores in operation, lower comps and the separation of the Sears Hometown and Outlet businesses that occurred last year. Comps for Kmart, which was operating 1,211 stores as of May 4, decreased by 4.6%, while total sales were $3.1 billion, compared with $3.4 billion last year, when it had 1,290 stores.

 

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A.G. Lafley rejoins P&G as chairman, president and CEO

BY Antoinette Alexander

CINCINNATI — Procter & Gamble has brought back former chief A.G. Lafley to serve as president and CEO, effective immediately. He also has been elected to the board and will serve as its chairman.

Lafley joined P&G in 1977 and served as president and CEO from 2000 to 2009. He succeeds Bob McDonald, who is retiring from the company on June 30, after 33 years of service.

Jim McNerney, presiding director of P&G’s board, said, "A.G.’s track record and his depth of experience at P&G make him uniquely qualified to lead the company forward at this important time. The board expects A.G. to further improve results, implement the current productivity plan, and facilitate an ongoing succession process. The board is confident that he will continue improving P&G’s performance.”

McNerney added, “We thank Bob for his service and note the company’s improving business performance. Under his leadership, the company expanded its business in developing markets, built a strong innovation pipeline, and has made substantial progress implementing a $10 billion cost savings and productivity program.”

McDonald joined the company in 1980 and served as president and CEO from 2009 to 2013.

The company confirmed its fiscal year and fourth quarter guidance, as stated in the recent third quarter earnings release.
 

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