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Rite Aid gears up for back-to-school season

BY David Salazar

CAMP HILL, Penn. — With the National Retail Federation projecting back-to-school season to be the second-busiest shopping period of the year, Rite Aid is stocking its shelves in preparation, the company announced Wednesday.

Rite Aid said that its back-to-school assortment of pens, pencils, crayons, highlights, notebooks, rulers, glue and calculators would include basics from such brands as Sharpie, Five-Star, Bic and Texas Instruments. The company’s private-brand Home line of products includes multi-colored notebooks, index cards and erasers, among others, and many are available for less than $1. The retailer is also featuring lunchboxes, backpacks and sandwich and snack containers.

Going beyond essentials, Rite Aid will feature electronics that include an 8.95-in. Windows tablet and a 19-in. LED TV, as well as mini-towers with Bluetooth and Magnavox speakers. It also offers a selection of printers and cell phone accessories. For dorm dwellers, the company is highlighting its selection of essentials — hangers, lamps, laundry baskets and storage solutions — as well as such appliances as irons, coffee makers and toasters. Rite Aid also noted that it carries a selection of gift cards that span popular restaurant chains, website, coffee shops and online music and app stores.

Throughout August, Rite Aid said it would be offering 500 Plenti points when members spend $15.

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Costco chairman, founder Brotman passes away

BY Marianne Wilson
ISSAQUAH, Wash. — A retail legend has passed.
 
The co-founder and chairman of Costco Wholesale Club, Jeff Brotman, 74, died Tuesday morning. He died in his sleep at his home and the cause of his death wasn’t immediately known.  
 
Brotman's death came as a "complete shock," according to the Seattle Times.  On the Monday night prior, he had attended a dinner for about 2,000 Costco warehouse managers from around the world who are gathered this week at the Washington State Convention Center, the report said.
 
"The thoughts of Costco’s board, management and employees are with Jeff’s wife and family,” Costco said in a statement. The company did not say who would succeed Brotman as chairman. 
 
Brotman had retail in his blood from an early age. His father, Bernard Brotman, founded several specialty stores in the Tacoma Washington area. Brotman co-founded Costco Wholesale with Jim Sinegal, who served as the company's CEO until he stepped down in 2011. The two opened the first Costco warehouse club location in 1983, in Seattle, and built it into a global retail powerhouse. The company currently operates 736 warehouses, including 511 in the United States and Puerto Rico, 97 in Canada, 37 in Mexico, 28 in the United Kingdom, 25 in Japan, 13 in Korea, 13 in Taiwan, eight in Australia, two in Spain, one in Iceland and one in France.
     
Brotman previously served as chairman of the company's board from Costco's founding until 1993, when he became vice chairman of the company. Since December 1994, he served as chairman. 
     
Brotman was famous for his philanthropy, which spanned the educational, medical and cultural arenas. He and his wife were major donors to the Democratic Party. Brotman also supported other entrepreneurs, and was an early investor in Starbucks.
 
“I will miss Jeff immensely. He was a dear friend, mentor and a brother,” Howard Schultz, Starbucks’ executive chairman, said in a statement. “He was one of the earliest believers and investors in Starbucks and in me.”
 
Schultz also commented on Brotman's charitable endeavors, describing him as "a shining light in the community contributing so much to Seattle and the nation. We have lost a titan of our community.”
 
Click here to read more. 

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Publix cuts stock price as Q2 sales increase

BY Marianne Wilson

LAKELAND, Fla. — Florida's largest supermarket chain on Tuesday reported higher sales and revenues for its second quarter. Prior to releasing its results, the company cut the price of its stock.

Publix’s sales in the second quarter rose 3.6% to $8.4 billion, from last year’s $8.1 billion. Same-store sales increased 1.6%.  

Net earnings increased 3.5% to $495.1 million, compared to $478.2 million in the year-ago period. 

Publix’s sales for the first half of 2017 were $17.1 billion, a 1.5% increase over the year-ago period. Comparable-store sales for the first half of 2017 decreased 0.3%.

Net earnings for the first half of 2017 were down 0.9% to $1.05 billion. Earnings per share was unchanged at $1.37 per share.

Publix’s stock price decreased from $39.15 per share to $36.05 per share. Publix stock is not publicly traded and is made available for sale only to current associates and members of its board of directors. Unlike publicly traded stock, Publix adjusts its own stock price based on what auditors feel the company is valued at.

“This has been a tough quarter for supermarket companies in the stock market,” said Publix CEO & president Todd Jones. “We continue to be focused on growing sales and profits while providing premier customer service.”

Publix is privately owned and operated by its 188,000 employees. Currently, it has 1,150 stores in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia.
 

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