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Roundy’s makes store-level pricing execution efficient with GPC Nexgen program

BY Alaric DeArment

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Midwestern retailer Roundy’s Supermarkets has partnered with Grandville Printing to digitally print weekly in-store shelf tags and price signs, Roundy’s said Wednesday.

The chain said it had fully deployed the GPC Nexgen program, whereby shelf tags and price signs are delivered pre-burst and boxed in planogram order by aisle for each store, thus giving the retailer’s pricing and marketing departments the ability to make changes faster and benefit from relevant messages to consumers at the shelf.

Roundy’s began working with GPC last April, piloting the program in four of its stores. The company operates 155 stores in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Illinois under the Copps, Pick ‘n Save, Rainbow, Metro Market and Mariano’s Fresh Market banners.

“GPC’s ability to deliver pre-burst and sorted tags has increased the efficiency of store-level pricing execution, which allows us to place more focus on serving our customers,” Roundy’s VP pricing and strategic initiatives Jason Benish said.

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Earnings miss doesn’t derail Dollar General’s growth

BY Mike Troy

GOODLETTSVILLE, Tenn. — Sales and profits continued to pile up at Dollar General during the first quarter as shoppers sought value at the retailer’s 9,500 stores.

The company reported a 5.4% increase in same-store sales and said total sales increased 10.9% to $3.45 billion during the quarter ended April 29. Profits adjusted to account for several one-time items increased 14% to $166 million, while earnings per share of 48 cents were 2 cents shy of analysts’ consensus estimate due to gross margins pressures.

An earnings miss typically is disconcerting to investors, but in Dollar General’s case, the shortfall was offset by stronger-than-expected sales growth and an expansion story that remains intact. The 5.4% first-quarter same-store sales increase was on top of the prior year’s first-quarter gain of 6.7%, and the company noted the improvement results from a blend of increased customer traffic and higher average transaction sizes. The addition of new stores also helped the top line as the company opened 139 new stores and relocated or remodeled another 184 units.

“Dollar General is off to a great start in 2011,” said Rick Dreiling, Dollar General’s chairman and CEO. “As I look back on the first quarter, we maintained our focus on serving our customers and worked to hold the line where we reasonably could when it came to raising prices in an environment of rising commodity and fuel costs. Our customers are depending on Dollar General more than ever for consistent value and convenience.”

The decline in gross margins to 31.5% from 32.1% that caused the earnings miss resulted from the combination of markdowns of winter home and apparel merchandise and increased sales of lower-margin consumables. Pressures in those areas were offset by reduced inventory shrink and greater distribution efficiency, according to the company.

“In spite of expected gross margin headwinds, we remain well-positioned to deliver on our financial outlook for fiscal 2011 as we invest for the long-term health of the company,” Dreiling said.

The company’s full-year expansion plans call for the addition of 625 new stores and the remodeling or relocation of approximately 550 stores.

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Consumers make small changes to deal with rising gas prices

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — According to a AAA telephone survey released last week, more than half of those surveyed have adopted such relatively simple conservation changes as utilizing trip chaining, reducing shopping trips, dining out less and driving less because of higher gas prices.

As many as 62% of respondents already have combined shopping trips and errands, and if the price of gas should reach $5 per gallon, 68% reported they would combine trips.

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