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Stop & Shop brings back annual Triple Winner Game

BY Allison Cerra

FAIRFIELD, Conn. — Stop & Shop’s New York metro division has kicked off a fundraising campaign to benefit pediatric cancer patients at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

The supermarket retailer said its annual Triple Winner Game — which has raised more than $50 million since 1991 — provides customers who make a $1 contribution to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center with a Triple Winner scratch ticket, giving them the opportunity to win free store products, gift cards or cash prizes up to $10,000.

"Stop & Shop is enormously proud to be part of the team that is forcing pediatric cancer to retreat," said Ron Onorato, division president of Stop & Shop’s New York metro division. "Triple Winner has become a campaign that has saved lives, created research paths and provided genuine hope to families waiting for a cure. There is now a proud and growing ‘Triple Winner’ family of young people who have a bright future because we have been able to put dollars into cancer treatment and research. I can’t think of a better reward for everyone who continues to make this campaign a success."

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Strong Q4 sales keep 99 Cents a hot commodity

BY Gail Hoffer

CITY OF COMMERCE, Calif. — Even with an extra week in this year’s reporting period, 99 Cents Only Stores reported a total sales increase for it fiscal fourth quarter. The company reported total sales of $378.5 million for the 14-week fourth quarter of fiscal 2011 ended April 2, 2011, compared with $339.3 million for the 13-week fourth quarter in the prior fiscal year.

The company reported a same-store sales increase of 0.5% for the quarter. Excluding Texas operations, comps were up 0.7%.

Eric Schiffer, CEO, commented, "Our fourth quarter same-store sales growth was 0.5%, on a comparable 13-week basis, which was in line with our expectations. We are encouraged that our same-store sales improved compared to the third quarter of fiscal 2011."

99 Cents Only said it opened five stores during the fourth quarter. This includes three in California, one in Arizona and the re-opening of one company-owned store in Texas. The gross and saleable retail square footage at the end of the fourth quarter were 6.05 million and 4.76 million, respectively. This represents an increase of 3.3% for each of gross and saleable square footage and an increase of 3.6% in the store count over last year, based on 285 stores, the company reported.

For fiscal 2011, the company reported that total sales were $1.4 billion, compared with $1.35 billion for the prior-year period. Same-store sales for fiscal 2011 increased 0.7% compared with the same period in the prior fiscal year. For the company’s non-Texas operations, same-store sales increased 0.8% in fiscal 2011.

Last month, 99 Cents Only received a buyout offer from Leonard Green & Partners. If the company continues to produce strong sales, 99 Cents could remain attractive to potential buyers.

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Ralphs, Food 4 Less raise more than $100K for Japan earthquake relief

BY Allison Cerra

LOS ANGELES — Two Kroger banners have raised funds to benefit Japan earthquake and tsunami victims.

Ralphs and Food 4 Less said they raised more than $100,000 for the American Red Cross’ International Response Fund for its Japan relief efforts. The retailers hosted a fundraising campaign that ran from March 21 through April 9.

"The magnitude of our fundraising effort really speaks to the commitment and generosity of our customers and associates," said Mike Donnelly, president of Ralphs. "It is our hope that our donations will help the Red Cross provide much-needed assistance to the victims and families of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami."

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