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Walgreens signs on to develop more food oasis stores

BY Allison Cerra

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens has signed on to convert or open at least 1,000 stores across the country using its food oasis concept over the next five years as part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s and the Partnership for a Healthier America’s recent announcement to bring healthy, affordable food to nearly 10 million people during that time period.

Walgreens since last year has opened food oasis stores in such major markets as Chicago and San Francisco. The stores expanded their food selection by up to 60%, offering a larger assortment of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and other healthy meal components to help address the need for greater access to affordable, nutritious food.

“With more than 45% of our stores located in areas that don’t have access to fresh food, Walgreens is uniquely positioned to bring more food options to Americans, and also [to] provide needed pharmacy, health and wellness services directly in those communities,” Walgreens president and CEO Greg Wasson said. “Joining with the Partnership for a Healthier America, we plan to convert or open at least 1,000 food oasis stores across the country over the next five years.”

Walgreens is one of several retailers that have signed on to combat food deserts. Other retailers include Supervalu and Walmart, as well as Brown’s Super Stores, Calhoun Enterprises and Klein’s Family Markets.

For more information about this campaign, check out DSN‘s stories here and here.

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Walgreens to expand EV charging stations to about 800 locations

BY Allison Cerra

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens is positioning itself to be the largest retail host of electric vehicle charging stations, the drug store chain announced Thursday.

The company, which already has installations under way for EV charging stations at more than 60 stores across Houston, Dallas/Fort Worth and Chicago, said such major markets as Boston, Denver, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., also will host these sites. What’s more, Walgreens said that select stores in Florida, New Jersey, Oregon, Tennessee and Washington also will receive EV charging stations.

Overall, Walgreens plans to offer EV charging stations at approximately 800 locations across the country by the end of the year.

The charging stations will feature either a high-speed direct current charger that can add 30 miles of range in as little as 10 minutes of charging time, or a Level 2 charger that can add up to 25 miles of range per hour of charge, Walgreens noted.

“Consumer interest and enthusiasm has been incredible and we’re excited to provide locations to charge up in neighborhoods across the country,” Walgreens president of community management and operations Mark Wagner said. “As more Americans embrace environmentally sustainable technologies, our convenient locations make us uniquely positioned to help address the concern around accessibility or ‘range confidence.’ According to the Department of Energy, Walgreens will make up as much as 40% of all public EV charging stations across the country, making it easy for EV drivers to look to our stores for a quick charge near major highways, metropolitan areas or right in their neighborhood.”

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Safeway sees sales, income boost in Q2

BY DSN STAFF

PLEASANTON, Calif. — Safeway reported net income of $145.8 million, or 41 cents per diluted share, for second quarter 2011, compared with $141.3 million, or 37 cents per diluted share, during the year-ago period.

The company reported that total sales increased 7.1% to $10.2 billion in second quarter 2011 from $9.5 billion in second quarter 2010. Identical-store sales, excluding fuel, saw a 0.5% increase.

"Second-quarter earnings results exceeded our expectations," Safeway chairman, president and CEO Steve Burd said. "Identical-store sales improved during the second quarter and into the third quarter. We remain focused on building customer loyalty and expect sales to continue to gradually improve through the second half of the year."

Safeway reaffirmed guidance for the year of $1.45 to $1.65 earnings per diluted share. Identical-store sales are expected to gradually improve, approaching 1% for the year.

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