News

Rite Aid to issue new bonds in move to add $300 million in liquidity

BY Michael Johnsen

CAMP HILL, Pa. Rite Aid last week announced plans to issue new debt in an effort to refinance $710 million in existing bonds, a move that should lift any pressure from near-term liquidity concerns and allow the company to focus more readily on long-term earnings objectives, Meredith Adler, Lehman Bros. analyst, noted in a research note released Thursday.

The new debt, though at a higher cost, allows Rite Aid to add approximately $300 million in additional liquidity, Adler wrote.

“We believe the reduced risk exposure to equity holders more than offsets the added cost,” she added. “Today’s [monthly] sales results also reinforce our confidence in the outlook for the business and we expect coming data points to support the stock.”

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Chawla to fill new Walgreens e-commerce post

BY DSN STAFF

DEERFIELD, Ill. Walgreens has named Sona Chawla to the new position of senior vp of e-commerce, effective July 1. Chawla joins Walgreens from Dell, where she was vp of global online business.

In her new position, Chawla will oversee a team dedicated to building the sales, service and customer experience of Walgreens.com, while driving store traffic through the Web site and growing online profitability.

Before joining Dell in 2006, Chawla worked at Wells Fargo & Company from 2000 to 2006. She started with Wells Fargo as senior vp of enterprise Internet services, was named evp of Web channel management in 2003 and evp of online sales, service and marketing in 2005.

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Publix to acquire 49 Albertson’s stores

BY DSN STAFF

BOISE, Idaho Albertson’s said it has accepted an offer from Publix Super Markets to purchase 49 of the company’s stores in Florida. The company intends to operate its remaining Florida division stores with the ongoing support of its distribution center in Plant City and division office in Lake Mary, Florida.

Commenting on the acquisition, Publix chief executive officer Ed Crenshaw said, “The demand for the high-quality service our associate owners provide gives us the opportunity to reinvest in these communities by acquiring additional sites for Publix stores. We continue to focus on being the premier food retailer in the areas in which we operate.” 

The acquisition is expected to be complete in September.

Winn-Dixie chairman, chief executive officer and President Peter Lynch said, “Based on our analysis, only 10 of the 49 stores are within a two-mile operating radius of a Winn-Dixie location that does not currently compete with an existing Publix. As a result, we do not believe this transaction will have a material impact on our long-term strategy or performance. Our remodeled stores continue to generate positive results. As we move forward, we will monitor business conditions and fine-tune product assortment, pricing and merchandizing efforts in each store to meet the needs of the communities we serve.”

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